Concerns Bring Commitment to Hire Crossing Guards at Eliot

As students begin to trickle back to some form of in-person schooling, many Charlestown parents have growing concerns that when older kids return on March 15 to their North End school – crossing over the new temporary bridge and construction site could be perilous.

To that end, parental concerns have been heard loud and clear by the Boston Police Department, who confirmed to the paper on Monday they will hire crossing guards for City Square in Charlestown and Keany Square in the North End.

A MARCH 1ST FIRST…Little Amina Ross reported to the Harvard Kent School on Monday morning for what would be her first day of kindergarten despite having nearly a year of kindergarten under her belt. However, before entering her first real classroom, she couldn’t resist playing a little “real” hopscotch. Students in Grades K-3 reported to schools all over Charlestown on Monday as part of the first day of the long-awaited hybrid in-person education model.

“We have hired two crossing guards, one for Keany Square and one for City Square,” said Police Sgt. John Boyle.

He said the guards will help school children going to and coming from the Eliot School cross what has become a very complicated, construction-heavy intersection in what was already a dangerous situation. The guards will be there in the morning and afternoons.

For parents at the Eliot, there are two factors in the mix.

Number one is the last time kids actually went to school, there was not major construction project going on, and the Temporary Bridge had yet to be opened. The second part of the equation is that many Eliot parents voluntarily opted out of the school bus to help Boston Public Schools in other parts of the city – where more people depend on the school bus and more buses are needed due to social distancing requirements.

That added up to the notion that many families and children would likely be walking to school this spring.

“I think you really need a crossing guard there,” said Jessica Deroeve, who has two children at the Eliot. “Many might be thinking about it now, but come March 15 and right after, I think a lot of Charlestown parents are going to have their kids walking.”

Corinne Green, who also has two kids at the Eliot, said without the buses, there will be a lot of the older elementary students walking, and with the large construction activity and unruly commuter traffic, it’s a major worry without a crossing guard.

“I’m aware of several families at the Eliot that will have their kids walk to school,” she said. “The 6th graders can walk over by themselves, but we have a lot of worries when it comes to getting across City Square. They can no longer stay on the east side walkway with the construction. A crossing guard is necessary for the kids and I’m sure they are going to find a lot of kids walking from Charlestown to the Eliot.”

Jaime Dutton, who also has two kids at the Eliot, said having the guards there is welcome news, and it will allow a seamless walk through Charlestown and into the North End.

“When I heard a crossing guard was an option, I was happy to hear it was an option because that walk is a concern,” she said. “It’s one of the busiest and most dangerous intersections in the city I would believe. Knowing we have a crossing guard on either side of the bridge watching things…is reassuring. It’s an important step in the right direction and ensures that the walking trail with crossing guards extends to all three schools that serve the neighborhood.”

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