School crossing guard shortage due to COVID has principal working double duty


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Treadwell Elementary School parents shared their frustrations after noticing there was no crossing guard to keep their kids safe Wednesday.

They want something done before it’s too late.

At Treadwell Elementary on Given near North Highland, parents watched anxiously as their kids walked across the street to the school.

“There’s a lot of cars and people don’t drive slow,” a parent, Lori Gilbert, said.

However, Wednesday morning the person making sure students made it across the street safely was not your average crossing guard wearing a yellow vest.

It was the principal of Treadwell Middle School. He was wearing a blue suit jacket and carrying a whistle and stop sign.

“It’s so honorable and I really appreciate that he cares so much about the students. He’s not going to just wait around for the district to get things together,” Gilbert said.

Several parents reached out to WREG and said the school has been without a crossing guard since the start of the 2021 school year. 

“Our children’s safety is definitely a priority,” Gilbert said.

It wasn’t until after WREG arrived that a Memphis Police officer arrived on site.

Gilbert says she fears for her children’s safety.

“It’s very concerning because we’ve had a lot of pedestrian injuries and deaths in this area,” Gilbert said. “People drive really fast but there’s a lot of kids that have to get across the street.”

A source with the school said crossing guards are typically provided through the Memphis Police Department, but due to COVID-19, there’s been a shortage of guards available.

Parents like Gilbert say that’s not good enough when it comes to the safety of their children, and they say they want the issue resolved immediately before it’s too late.

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We reached out to both Memphis Police and Shelby County Schools for a response, and we have yet to hear back.

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