My name is Shaun D. Francois I, and I am the President of Local 372, New York City Board of Education Employees, and one of the Vice Presidents of DC 37. Local 372 has 2,120 School Crossing Guards (SCG)who risk their lives daily to ensure that our children make it into the school buildings safely and home safely.

It’s my understanding that SCG Marie Cox who is employed at PS.112 Queens who has been a SCG since 2008. While at her post on the corner she was waiting for the children to come out from a half day of school, she was hit by a parked car in which a motorist ran into. So the motorist hit the parked car and the parked car hit the SCG on 82nd street and 34th ave. In Queens. She sustained a head injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident during the course of her employment. She had to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. She is in stable condition at the moment at Elmhurst Hospital Center, Located at 79-01 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373. This incident occurred approximately around 10:30am.

My Executive Vice President Donald Nesbit and Union Rep Stephanie Torres of Local 372 went to visit her for moral support. She was conscious but in a lot of pain waiting for results from the Doctor.

I want to thank the Mayor’s office as well as the NYPD for their prompt response to this incident.

This unfortunate accident, however, highlights the dangers that our school crossing guards face on a daily basis while protecting our 1.2 million children.

Although Vision Zero seeks to reduce pedestrian knockdowns and fatalities, we must factor in the SCG’s critical role in this equation. Currently, there are more than 325 School Crossing Guard vacancies. These vacancies make it less safe for our school children in their travel to and fro school and create hazardous work conditions for many of our SCGs who work on the busiest streets in this country. We are asking the City of New York to fill these vacancies immediately by removing the obstacles which serve as a deterrent to the hiring process: Many of the SCGs make as little as $9.88 an hour. We are asking the City of New York to pay our SCGs a living wage of at least $15.00 per hour. Additionally, many SCGs apply for unemployment benefits during the summer months. We’re asking the City of New York to annualize their employment and also create employment opportunities during the summer months. With these recommended changes, I’m certain that the vacancies will be filled at a more rapid pace, thus creating a safer environment for both our children and hardworking SCGs.

“Vision Zero” should also mean zero knockdowns and fatalities for our School Crossing Guards who risk life and limb for the protection of our children and community.