Safe to cross: crossing guard discusses important role

By Nick Blank nick@claytodayonline.com
Posted 8/17/22

FLEMING ISLAND – The role of a crossing guard is more than shepherding students from point A to point B.

Donning a reflective vest, crossing guard Sandy Massaro assists children in crossing the …

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Safe to cross: crossing guard discusses important role

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – The role of a crossing guard is more than shepherding students from point A to point B.

Donning a reflective vest, crossing guard Sandy Massaro assists children in crossing the street, though that’s not all.

Massaro is now in her fifth year as a part-time employee of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. She retired at 70 from a long career in the banking industry. She also works with the Salvation Army and volunteers with new U.S. citizens with their tests.

“I needed something else to fill my time,” she said. “I need to be busy all the time.”

Her grandchildren attended Fleming Island Elementary, and one application later, the wheels were in motion.

“I love kids, they are young. I went online and got the job,” Massaro said. “Here I am five years later doing it because it’s so much fun.”

Massaro said she gives the students compliments and asks what’s on their minds. Massaro chuckled that she keeps up with the latest trends by talking to the students.

“We get to be friends by the end of the school year,” she added. “You get to know entire families – moms, dads, uncles, nieces – because they walk with their kids.”

Safety and security are Massaro’s primary goals on both her morning and afternoon shifts. The Eagle Harbor Parkway and Lakeshore Drive intersection is an array of boaters, golf carts, bikes and pedestrians. Several things could happen, which is why she needs children and parents to listen and pay attention. There can be confusion about whose turn it is to proceed.

“The children know I’m there for them and they know I won’t let them get hurt. You have to be vigilant. The No.1 priority is the kids. I have rules for them that they have to do certain things,” Massaro said. “It’s hugely important those kids do not step off the curb when I tell them to.”

Numerous drivers pass through Lakeshore Drive and Eagle Harbor Parkway intersection. Massaro said drivers need to follow speed limits in school zones, which decrease to 15 mph. She also asked drivers not to encroach on sidewalks.

“The first three days of school were fabulous. Friday went well, they really are a wonderful group of students," Massaro said of the first week of school.

The job takes a certain person, she said. For more information about the crossing guard position, visit governmentjobs.com/careers/claysheriff.

“Whatever the weather is, you're a part of it,” Massaro said. “You have to be an outside person.”

The children are what makes the job special for her, Massaro said.

“The children themselves, when they are little, they are easier to read, happy or not,” Massaro said. “In general, they smile, I’m a happy person and I try to make them smile.”

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