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Crossing Guard Loves Watching Kids Grow

November 21, 1994|HOPE HAMASHIGE

COSTA MESA — Most people don't consider the danger involved with being a crossing guard. Joanne Rash, a crossing guard at the TeWinkle Middle School, said she wanted such a job because she thought it would be fun.

Rash found out just how dangerous it could be two years ago when she was hit by a car. She wasn't badly hurt, just a few cuts and bruises, but now she is more careful than ever.

"It is especially hectic in the morning," she said. "Everyone is in a rush to get to work and they are not looking at me. They are just looking at each other to see who is going to go first."

But, Rash said, the benefits of the job outweigh the hazards. After six years helping kids safely cross at Gisler Avenue and California Street, she has become a fixture at the school and in the community.

She helps out the school security guards by keeping a watchful eye out for truant students from other schools who may try to sneak on campus.

Rash has also made it her responsibility to keep tabs on any unusual activity at the houses neighboring the school.

"She is our watchdog," said Carolyn Yurada, who lives across the street from the junior high school. "She tells me if my dog has gotten out of the yard and if my kids have gotten home from school early."

Rash knows most of the children by name and they all greet her as they come and go. "I love the kids and I get to watch them grow up," she said. "That is the best part of this job."


* What's involved: A crossing guard helps students safely cross the streets when they are approaching and leaving school. They also assist school security personnel by alerting them to fights and truant students.

* Qualifications: Crossing guards should enjoy working with children. They go through a weeklong training program to learn about safety.

* Outlook: By 1998, the number of crossing guards in the county is projected to increase by 25% to 250.

* Salary range: $4.25 to $8.45 per hour.

* Pros: Most crossing guards enjoy working outdoors and getting to know the children and teachers at the school where they work.

* Cons: Being a crossing guard can be dangerous. Drivers sometimes do not see them, particularly in foul weather.

* Advancement: Some crossing guards will become supervisors, who help hire and train other crossing guards.

* Quote: "I love the kids and I get to watch them grow up. Now I see kids who used to go to school here drive by in cars."

--Joanne Rash, crossing guard Researched by HOPE HAMASHIGE / For The Times

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