The Polk County Sheriff’s Office took on the responsibility of administrating the School Crossing Guard Program in the mid 1970’s. This endeavor brought about many positive changes. To ensure the safe crossing of students throughout Polk County a School Crossing Committee was organized. The committee consists of representatives from the Sheriff’s Office, the School Board, County Traffic Operations, surrounding cities Public Works, and the Department of Transportation. The committee determines the best course of actions for establishment requests or changes to school crossings. The Department of Transportation Training guidelines were adopted as outlined in F.S. 316.75. School crossing guards receive state-structured classroom instruction, with an additional two days of on-the-job training in accordance with the Ramon Turnquest Act. Additionally, school crossing guards receive an annual re-certification each new school year.
School Crossing Guards are placed in areas where it is unsafe for elementary children to cross alone. The primary goal of the guard is to assist and educate elementary students in safe crossing at busy streets and highways as they travel to and from school. Guards encourage students to use safe crossing habits, by reminding them to stay in the crosswalk, walk and not run, and always look left right left, before entering roadway. Monday through Friday, morning and afternoon, and often-in inclement weather, you will see school crossing guards assist students across busy streets and highways.
School crossing guards utilize gaps, and as needed, create gaps, in traffic ensuring the children’s safety. Often motorists view this break in the traffic flow as an annoyance, and all too frequently, motorists fail to heed the school crossing guards’ signals. This increases the risk of an accident and endangers the children.
When you see a guard, this is a reminder you are near a school and children are in the area. Be alert for posted school zone speed; reduce your speed, or stop, if necessary. Do not stop in a crosswalk. Obey signals from the crossing guard, and remember children are unpredictable. Please do your part to make our school zones safer for the children as well as the guards assisting them.
For further information regarding the School Crossing Guard Program, please contact (863) 534-7330 or (863) 519-8895, during normal business hours.