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Why even more middle schools might be getting crossing guards soon

Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas are exploring the possibility of adding crossing guards to middle schools under their jurisdictions.

Clark County last week became the first Southern Nevada jurisdiction to move forward with crossing guards at middle schools.

The Clark County Commission approved hiring 84 crossing guards to work crosswalks around 23 middle schools under the county’s jurisdiction. With that move, the county will join other jurisdictions around the United States that have already added middle school crossing guards, including Los Angeles County.

The county’s decision came after more than a year of meetings and a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that revealed a disproportionate amount of middle schoolers were being struck by vehicles on their way to and from school.

Some of those meetings leading up to the approval included representatives from the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas.

Commissioner Michael Naft, who played a major role in bringing the county’s crossing guard item before the commission, said he’s willing to assist any jurisdiction wanting to follow the county’s lead.

“Regardless of what jurisdiction they live in, all students deserve to be safe getting to and from school,” Naft said in a text message. “I am happy to assist our neighboring cities in expanding their crossing guard programs to include middle schools, as we have done in Clark County.”

The Road Warrior reached out to the major jurisdictions in the valley to gauge their interest in adding crossing guards at middle schools.

The city of Las Vegas funds around 180 crossing guards at elementary schools in its jurisdiction, and expansion to middle schools is a possibility.

“There are 20 middle school sites within the city limits, and the city is evaluating potential expansion of the program to these sites,” Jace Radke, a city spokesman, said in an email.

North Las Vegas also is exploring possibly adding crossing guards to middle schools, but a decision has yet to be made, according to spokeswoman Kathleen Richards.

A Henderson Police Department spokesperson noted the city is in the early stages of considering growing its crossing guard staff.

“The Henderson Police Department is looking into adding additional crossing guards through its contracted vendor,” the spokesperson said in an email. “This addition would need to go before the mayor and council for approval.”

Clark County’s approval last week allows for 84 crossing guard positions for 23 middle schools after the budget for crossing guards was nearly doubled from $2.2 million annually, to $4.03 million per year.

Between 2015-2019, 150 of the 340 school-age children injured in crashes within a quarter-mile of Clark County School District campuses during hours immediately before and after school were middle school age, according to state data tracked by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

That means even though middle school students make up a quarter of the Clark County School District’s total enrollment, they accounted for close to 50 percent of the injuries during that time span.

If adding middle school crossing guards can help keep students safe, it seems well worth the cost.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

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