Back to school - Ensemble Montréal requests more school crossing guards to ensure the security of youth
The leader of Ensemble Montréal, Mr. Lionel Perez, and the spokesperson for matters related to homelessness and youth, Mr. Benoit Langevin, have tabled a motion demanding that the City of Montreal work with the Service de police de Montréal (SPVM) to put an end to the quotas limiting the number of school crossing guards in the Montreal agglomeration. For this initiative, they received the support of many commissioners from different school boards in Montreal, including Ms. Suzanne Marceau and Ms. Louise Leroux from the Commission scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys, Ms. Renée-Chantal Belinga of the Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Île, Ms. Patricia Lattanzio of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) and Ms. Marie-Josée Mastromonaco, Vice President of the Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM).
With a united voice, Ensemble Montréal and the participating school boards commissioners decried the current limit to the number of school crossing guards which has been set at around 520 for many years despite a growing number of students and the construction of new schools. Furthermore, they also called upon to change the process currently used to secure intersections, which consists in transferring existing resources to other intersections which are deemed be dangerous.
"School crossing guards are essential to the safety of young people who walk and cycle between home and school. School boards agree that the number of school crossing guards is too low. The lack of school crossing guards at many intersections not only puts the lives of children at risk, but also forces many parents to drive their children to school. The problem is that the increased presence of vehicles near schools contributes to feelings of insecurity. Quotas must be abolished so that the number of school crossing guards reflects the state of changing needs in the right place, at the right time", said Mr. Perez.
For a decade, Montreal's school boards have seen the number of students and schools rise considerably. For example, the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur projects a rise of more than 1000 students per year within the Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Île for the next five years. In 2008-2009, the Commission scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys had 44,600 students across 73 schools, compared to 71,122 students and 85 schools in 2016-2017. The CSDM estimates that within 5 years, at least 15 new schools will have to be built to welcome the additional students.
"We are scrambling to increase the number of school crossing guards with no results. Parents are constantly asking for their presence at critical intersections so that their children can move safely and autonomously. It is not normal, if not irresponsible, to have to fight for reason to be heard while everyone recognizes the positive contribution of school crossing guards", said Ms. Marie-Josée Mastromonaco.
More than 30% of elementary school students choose active transportation as a means of travelling between their home and school. Between 2013 and 2017, 140 children were injured by a vehicle in Montreal while commuting. The presence of school crossing guards at the intersections with the highest flow of vehicles is the element that most contributed to making children and their parents feel safe.
"In a context where cohabitation between road users is disrupted by construction sites and numerous detours, the relevance of school crossing guards no longer needs to be demonstrated. Many of Montreal's schools are in dense and busy urban environments. School crossing guards are a priority! Not only do they make intersections safer, they also raise awareness about road safety. As a society, we promote active transportation from an early age. To do this, let us ensure that our youth have a safe environment", concluded Mr. Langevin.
Ensemble Montréal's motion will be debated during the city council's meeting on August 20th.
SOURCE Ville de Montréal - Opposition officielle à l'Hôtel de Ville de Montréal
For further information: Brigitte Roussy, Press Secretary, Office of the Official Opposition, 514-248-0160