Boro Lawmakers Applaud Crossing Guard Protections

Boro Lawmakers Applaud Crossing Guard Protections

New legislation protects city crossing guards from verbal and physical threats by increasing the penalties for such offenses. File Photo

New legislation protects city crossing guards from verbal and physical threats by increasing the penalties for such offenses.
File Photo

New legislation provided new protections to two different kinds of public employees from assault while on the job, putting them on the same level of police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders, officials said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law this week a bill that provides crossing guards and New York City Housing Authority employees in the same bracket as emergency responders when it comes to protecting them from various assaults and upped the penalties for such offenses. Under the law, attacks on NYCHA employees and crossing guards were elevated from a misdemeanor to a violent felony.

“At times, the value and service of our crossing guards are overlooked and taken for granted,” said state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), who co-sponsored the bill in the Senate. “Now, I want to be sure these guards get the safeguards owed to them, and they are aware of their rights regarding legal protections when it comes to both motorists and pedestrians they come in contact with.”

The overall package came through to separate bills – one for NYCHA employees and the other for crossing guards. Cuomo said attacks on NYCHA employees were not uncommon, making the new legislation a no-brainer for lawmakers.

Crossing guards, Cuomo said, were also typical victims of verbal and physical threats like menacing, spitting, or assaulting, which often went unreported.

Now, lawmakers said such offenses could be punishable by two to seven years in jail.

“This critically important legislation will better protect hardworking employees who are charged with keeping children and families safe,” Cuomo said. “I thank the bills’ sponsors for their work in making these new protections a reality.”

One of those sponsors was state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), who has been at the forefront of crossing guard advocacy for months now in his part of the district. Back in May, Peralta teamed up with Rego Park’s PS 206 to call for a new crossing guard assigned to the busy school, where he and school advocates said students were being put at the mercy of a busy intersection.

“The number of children we’re seeing injured and killed on our streets by motorists demands that we move as quickly as possible to fill the hundreds of school crossing guard vacancies that exist throughout New York. I thank Governor Cuomo for his support of my Crossing Guard Safety Act,” Peralta said. “By showing crossing guards the respect their job warrants and demonstrating that we have their backs, I am hopeful that we will be able to recruit enough crossing guards to fill existing vacancies and address emerging needs.”


By Phil Corso


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