Crossing guard shortage felt at Somerton school

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The intersection of Gifford Avenue and Tomlinson Road, outside of William H. Loesche Elementary School, is packed with crossing children and cars.

It's been two months since there was a crossing guard regularly posted at the intersection in the Somerton section of Philadelphia.

Elsie Nelson walks her child to school and has witnessed the dangers.

"We have people coming east, west, north, it just gets hectic and crazy. I mean there's been car accidents," said Nelson.

Parents have felt as though their crossing concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

"We are also complaining to the school but nobody has been over here for a long time now," said Tejas Chauhan, whose child attends Loesche Elementary.

The busiest intersection near Loesche Elementary is Tomlinson Road and Bustleton Avenue which is patrolled by a crossing guard. But parents still feel the void left at Tomlinson Road and Gifford Avenue.

"What I heard, is that if they don't have a crossing guard, they're supposed to notify the police station and the station will send an officer," said Debbie Marcelis.

She's right. Crossing guards are actually hired under Philadelphia Police Department, which says police officers can only cross kids "man-power permitting."

After contacting the school district, City Hall and the Philadelphia Police Department, we've learned 100 new crossing guards are being on-boarded.

Fifty crossing guards will report to un-manned posts on May 17, with an additional 50 deployed by May 30, including one at Loesche Elementary.
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