By Howard Monroe


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Parents in one West Philadelphia neighborhood say they are being forced to take matters into their own hands and act as crossing guards. Parents at Lea Elementary School say they’ve been short on crossing guards all school year and are now demanding the city address the issue.

The crossing guard shortage isn’t just an issue here. The city said Tuesday they’re down 20% from where they should be and parents are rightfully concerned.

“Someone’s going to get hit. Someone is going to get hurt,” parent Krissy Kim said. “A child is going to die. I’m not even being dramatic.”

Parents at Lea Elementary School say the city needs to act now before their worst fear is realized.

“It’s chaos when kids show up in the morning and when the doors open in the afternoon. Kids are excited, they run out of the building, you just never know what’s going to happen,” parent Adam Weaver said.

Weaver has three kids at the school. On Tuesday afternoon, he was volunteering as a crossing guard, helping to safely get the kids across the street himself.

Parents say the school only has one trained crossing guard.

“We’ve been, as parents, out there voluntarily, trying to keep the kids safe,” Weaver said. “We’re better than nothing, but we’re certainly not professionals, you know.”

Parents say they’ve been short on crossing guards for the entire school year. Crossing guards in Philadelphia are hired by the police department. Late last year, the department posted several jobs for crossing guards in several neighborhoods across the city.

“We would appreciate if they could speed the ball up. They need what they need,” parent Callitta Smith said.

After Eyewitness News reached out, Councilwoman Jamie Gauthier, who represents this area, said in a statement, “We were recently made aware of these staffing concerns. The safety of our students is a priority, and crossing guards are a crucial part of that. We will be in contact with Lea and with the District about this situation.”

The city says they currently have about 60 crossing guard jobs open. Parents are still concerned, though, because there aren’t any jobs posted in the 18th District, where Lea Elementary is located. They’re accepting applications through March 6. If you would like to apply, click here.