Local crossing guards express views on often overlooked profession


Blaze Grabowski

Ms. Judy Triguero is responsible for keeping the East Rutherford schoolchildren safe.

By Blaze Grabowski, Henry P. Becton Regional High School

“It was a high school student, and I never knew his name. He would never smile or respond, and he would always look down. I would greet him whenever I saw him,” stated Ms. Tammy Gil, a crossing guard for the Borough of East Rutherford.

She then went on to add, “Many years later, I ran into him in Stop and Shop, and he came up to me and said, ‘Do you remember me?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I used to cross you.’ He then came and gave me a big hug and said, ‘It was because of you telling me to have a good day, telling me everything is going to be okay, that I didn’t commit suicide.’”

Most view crossing guards as those primarily responsible for protecting children as they cross busy intersections on their way to school; however, their job requires a lot more than that.

“We do doggie treats, we wipe kids’ noses, we tie kids’ shoes…we do everything,” stated Ms. Gil who is stationed at the corner of Carlton Avenue and Chadwick Street in East Rutherford.

Blaze Grabowski
Ms. Tammy Gil can be seen around McKenzie School in East Rutherford.

Furthermore, Robin Doyle, who one can find on Grove Street and Uhland Avenue, truly enjoys the social aspect of her job. “My favorite part of my job is saying ‘hi’ to all the kids when they come. I also like getting up in the morning, getting outside, and being in the fresh air.”

Despite this though, the outdoor job is no walk in the park. “Being a crossing guard is one of the most dangerous jobs because you never know if somebody isn’t paying attention to the rules of the road,” said Ms. Gil.

According to the Dept. of Health for the state of NJ, over 200 crossing guards suffered injuries between the years of 1993 and 2016 that resulted in them having to miss workdays, so nearly all the guards expressed how important it is for drivers to pay attention and follow their instructions. Judy Triguero, another East Rutherford crossing guard protecting the schoolchildren near Carlton Avenue and Locust Lane, stressed, “Always make eye contact with the crossing guard so that you can see what he or she is doing. I feel the same way, so I watch what the driver is doing while driving the car until I know it is absolutely safe to let the children cross.”

Under the New Jersey Administrative Code, the first failure to comply with a school crossing guard’s directive to stop will result in a fine of no less than $150.

Similarly, Randy Bulger, who one can find on Paterson Avenue and Vreeland Avenue across from the high school, said, “The hardest part about my job is trying not to get run over and trying to get the cars to stop in the appropriate amount of time.”

Blaze Grabowski
Randy Bulger is stationed outside of Becton Regional High School each day.

Mr. Bulger added that drivers need to know that pedestrians have the right of way. “It’s a law in the state that nobody seems to understand,” he expressed.

Overall, most of the crossing guards mentioned that the favorite part of their day is getting to see the children from throughout the Becton community. “I see many of these kids from when they’re in Pre-K to when they graduate high school, and I love being able to see that,” said Ms. Triguero

This story was originally published on Cat’s Eye View on March 17, 2019.