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Cumberland County May Have To Cut Crossing Guard Program

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY — Crossing guards help keep your children safe while they are walking to school, but commissioners in Cumberland County may have to let them go to balance their budget.

Every day, hundreds of Cumberland County school children make their way across busy streets with the help of their crossing guards, but budget cuts may force the Sheriff's Office to let go of all guards in the county. The cuts would save the county $450,000.

"I got a lot of small children crossing every day and I don't see how you can get them across safely," says crossing guard Richard Walker.

Last October, crossing guard Maxine McNeill was killed when she stepped in front of an oncoming car at Cape Fear High School. Parents worry that, without crossing guards, their children may be next.

"Kids do things that are normal for kids to do and they might get out of control and run across the street and the cars coming, they might get hit," says parent Sherry Blackmon.

Sheriff Earl Butler says if the cuts happen, he does not know who will replace the crossing guards because he does not have the staffing to do it. A budget proposal meeting is scheduled for Monday night to discuss the issue.

Photographer:David McCorkle