By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
Six hundred hopeful job applicants responded to a citywide call for School Crossing Guards as DC 37 opened its doors July 25 for their first-ever hiring hall at Lower Manhattan headquarters, with another scheduled for Aug. 8.
“The New York Post wrote an article saying Police were crossing school children. We felt they had scapegoated Crossing Guards and the union,” said Donald Nesbit, Local 372 executive vice president. “So we met with NYPD and formed a committee in May, and with the union’s Schools Division we put together a hiring hall to expedite the application process.”
Union leaders met with the Police Department, who hire and supervise Crossing Guards, to address the dwindling numbers of School Crossing Guards working throughout the five boroughs. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and Board of Education Employees Local 372 President Shaun Francois I decided to open the union hall to the NYPD and jobseekers.
“After blitzing social media and neighborhoods with flyers, we received hundreds of inquiries, our cut off was 600 applicants,” said David Boyd, Schools Division assistant director.
NYPD personnel interviewed and screened applicants and sent some for medical exams. NYPD conducts background checks and will eventually hire 400 School Crossing Guards in September at $11.50 an hour, plus union benefits. Assigned to a local police precinct, the new School Crossing Guards will work part-time, 20 to 25 hours a week.
“We are the first line of defense between the kids and cars,” said Crossing Guard Chapter Chair Denise Ferrante, who works near P.S. 62 on Staten Island’s busy Bloomingdale Road. “Drivers can be dangerously aggressive. They’re in a rush. I make sure everyone crossing — the children and even seniors — are safe.”
DC 37 will hold another hiring hall for School Crossing Guards on Aug. 8. To register, please call 212-815-1021 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. starting Monday, Aug. 1, through Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, or until the event is fully booked.