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Speak Out: Stop signs can’t replace crossing guards

Speak Out

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Updated: May 16, 2012 8:14AM

Stop signs cannot replace crossing guards: I am a crossing guard. I read in the newspaper that I might be replaced by a stop sign. That got me thinking. Can a stop sign prevent children from entering the street with its arms and verbal commands? Can a stop sign determine if a driver is on a cellphone or otherwise distracted and not paying attention to the stop sign? Can a stop sign determine if road or weather conditions may affect a driver’s ability to stop and prevent children from entering the street before it is safe? Can a stop sign comfort a crying first-grader who arrives home to find nobody there and the doors locked? Can a stop sign accompany that child to the school office so they are safe until a parent or guardian is contacted? Can a stop sign help a child who has just moved into the neighborhood find their way to school or home when they are lost? Can a stop sign guide children around road construction or barriers and help them cross over large holes that need to be crossed? Can a stop sign figure out the safest place to cross when emergency vehicles, accidents or other situations arise? Can a stop sign report suspicious activities or loose dogs? Can a stop sign direct scared children when a tornado siren goes off? Can a stop sign give a child a tissue, tie a shoe, give a high-five for a good grade or admire a school picture? There’s a lot more to being a crossing guard than holding up a stop sign. Yes, the city needs to spend responsibly. How much are our children worth?

Kudos to Gentry: Kathy Gentry at Kenyon Woods Middle School in South Elgin may be one of our better teachers, but she gets paid a good salary. She makes $45,000 or more. She teaches eight months for a 12-month paycheck. The middle school is in session 6½ hours a day. Kathy sounds like she’s worth her weight in gold, but many teachers are not. If teachers were paid by the hour and the quality of their work, our children would benefit.

Editor’s note: Gentry was one of more than 115 School District U46 teachers who staged their first “grade-in” the evening of March 5 at the U46 Education Services Center in Elgin to draw attention to the amount of time they must spend working outside the classroom. The teachers lined the second-floor hallway for an hour before the U46 school board meeting, some grading assignments while others worked on lesson plans, on interventions, on data analysis and parent contact.

Super salaries: I can see why teachers have a fit when superintendents get paid way too much with so many overpaid assistants. Let’s put our dollars into our kids first. There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Do what is best for the children. School boards, wake up.

Blowing the whistle on trains: Has anyone else in Elgin noticed an increase in train whistle blowing? Maybe Elgin should restrict some of this during late-night hours.

No time for family: Society today is in a whirlwind. It seems like everybody wants to do everything. Between demanding jobs, children’s school and sports activities, travel, social activities and volunteer involvement, people just run from one activity to another and never leave time for family activities. It’s a shame for our culture. We have lost family bonding. It’s now all about me, not we.

Litter along Larkin: The rear area along the north fence line behind the closed China Buffet restaurant on Larkin Avenue (in Elgin) is littered with cans, papers, bottles and other debris. This area borders the YMCA walking track and is a big eyesore. Someone must own this property. They should be told to clean it up. I have personally called Elgin code enforcement twice, but to date, the litter continues to grow.

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