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Concern Elevates Among Parents Over Crossing Guard Shortages At Reopened Schools

PLEASANT HILL (CBS SF) -- A shortage of crossing guards and a handful of accidents involving students in Contra Costa County this week have parents worried about traffic safety.

There were two accidents in front of Sequoia Elementary this week on Boyd Road near Patterson Boulevard. Sequoia Middle school is next to the elementary school. Hundreds of students cross Boyd street every weekday morning and afternoon.

A witness told KPIX 5 on Friday afternoon, a pickup truck ignored a crossing guard and bumped a student. Luckily, that student did not require medical attention.

Educators said on Wednesday morning, a car hit a student in the same crosswalk. They said the student was not seriously hurt. Parents said no crossing guards were working that morning.

The parents and a crossing guard told KPIX 5 the Mount Diablo Unified School District has big shortage of crossing guards. In fact, Sequoia Elementary has been emailing parents and encouraging them to volunteer.

"It's really sad and I think they need to hire people so the kids can be safely walking to school," said Mirela Varga, a parent at Sequoia Elementary.

On Wednesday afternoon, near Stanley Middle School in Lafayette, which is in a different school district, an SUV killed a crossing guard and injured a student. Witnesses said the guard -- a parent volunteering -- pushed three students out of the SUV's path.

And in Walnut Creek on Friday, two blocks away from Las Lomas High School, authorities said a car hit a student who was on a skateboard. It was unclear how that student was doing.

"I don't know if they're on their phones, they don't look sometimes," said Varga. "People need to be more careful when they drive because they have the big machine."

Some people blamed distracted driving. Others said drivers are still trying to get used to students being back out on the streets after spending the last year learning from home.

"We need someone who can tell the cars to slow down, to stop and make sure the kids can cross the street safely," said Jane Salcedo, who was picking up her siblings.

Parents and guardians want people to slow down. They also want more crossing guards.

Traditionally, districts have had a hard time hiring crossing guards because it's a part-time job, working a few hours a day. And the pay is not great.

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