After countless near-misses and drivers failing to heed crosswalk signage for years, Surrey's smallest school finally has its own crossing guard in Patricia Rush.
Beginning her duties Tuesday at South Surrey's East Kensington Elementary, Rush said she's looking forward to ensuring the safety of the school's 42 students each and every morning as they cross the increasingly busy 184th Street.
For East Kensington principal Beverley Siggs, having Rush on duty is a welcome relief for teachers and parents alike.
"As the traffic patterns are changing in Surrey, the traffic has increased along 184th (Street) so it's very hard for people to actually notice that there's a school here," said Siggs.
"There's a lot of signage but people don't tend to pay attention to it so they're often right on top of the crosswalk when they see the light is flashing and students are crossing, so we've had a few near misses and were very concerned."
According to school board trustee Laurae McNally, every school, no matter how small, deserves the same level of safety for its students and while parents have tried to act as crossing guards in the past, their efforts often went unheeded.
"Parents have for years tried to be crossing guards on their own and everyone just thumbs their nose at them. I've been here many times with the police when people are going 90 clicks through here, it's like a raceway," said McNally. "So I took a motion to the board last spring to request having a crossing guard here and the board unanimously supported it."
Janine Humphrey is especially relieved, as her son has been nearly hit three times in the last year alone while trying to cross.
"I've caught him by the hood and had to rip him back from running into the street," she said. "If I didn't pull him back, he would've been gone. Nobody slows down here so it's been a scary thing to worry about."
For Rush, standing as East Kensington's new guard is an opportunity to do some good in the community and give back to the city's youth.
"My husband and I ran a daycare before and we weren't becoming frail exactly but maybe a little threadworn, so we stopped," said Rush. "We really missed being around children and then my husband hit upon the idea of becoming a crossing guard. He's now a crossing guard at Latimer (Road Elementary) and is enjoying it so much."
That same level of enjoyment is what prompted Rush to follow suit, and after her first day of duty at East Kensington, she's looking forward to the rest of the school year.
"They keep you feeling young, they're like new spring buds coming in each season."
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