Crossing guards will soon be added to many middle schools in LA County after the Board of Supervisors unanimously decided to expand their crossing guard service beyond elementary schools, officials announced Tuesday.
Rosemont Middle School students cheered on their walk to school and congratulated their crossing guard Mario Bocanegro, who was hired as part of a pilot program for guards at middle schools in unincorporated LA County.
"If we wouldn't of won this case yesterday, I felt like I was going to let the kids down by not being here anymore," Bocanegro said. "It is dangerous, and that's why I'm glad I'm going to be here."
Student Matthew Rada couldn't contain his excitement over the decision to keep Bocanegro around.
"I think it's wonderful. He's actually a great guy. We say hi to him, we say thanks, I mean look at all the stuff he's done for us since 2013," Rada said. "I feel safe with him on my side."
The principal of the school said she was equally as thrilled.
"It's just knowing that they're safe and they can walk across the street without darting in traffic," Rosemont Middle School Principal Cynthia Livingston said. "Middle school kids don't walk to school with their parents. They walk together with their friends, and they walk with their cellphones, often times not paying as good attention as they should be."
Interest in crossing guards surged after a mother was struck and killed by a big rig while walking her daughter to school in Hollywood last month. At the time of the incident, there was no crossing guard present at that intersection.
Supervisor Antonovich’s office received more than 1,000 letters from Crescenta Valley students in support of the expansion as well.
An NBC4 I-Team investigation found that there were 500 schools approved for crossing guards, but because of budget concerns, the 169 schools have yet to receive them.