Crossing Guards Head Back to School

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It didn't matter if she had been there ten times before, Teri Nelson had no problem returning to Lansing for crossing guard certification.

"I love the kids," she said. "I deal with bad kids, good kids, but they're kids and I love them. That's my passion. I'm old enough to retire, but until God takes me home, I'm going to be on that corner with those kids."

She was one of approximately 90 people from across the region to participate. The morning consisted of speakers and training videos featuring protocol and tips for dealing with students with disabilities and special needs.

"As a parent, knowing your kid is in good hands walking back and forth to school is such a huge relief and I think it's great they get to make that difference," said Allie Whitford, Executive Director of the Lansing Area Safety Council.

Officer Steve Relyea of the Leslie Police Department said crossing guards have "sheep dog" personalities. They protect their flock.

"It takes a real dedicated person to be a crossing guard," he said. "They want to ensure our kids get to school safely, so they can get a good education and be productive in society when they grow up."

Plus, Relyea said crossing guards act as an extension of the police department, keeping their eyes on suspicious activity around their intersection.

"Extra hands, extra eyes, extra ears," he said. We ask them to not only protect the kids across the street but to look up the street just in case some criminal activity is going on or somebody tries to abduct a child."

For Teri Nelson, it's a responsibility to the families of the children too. She says she feels trusted to be watch out for them and hopes drivers will do the same.

"Wherever you're driving, watch for the kids," she said. "Watch for us crossing guards. Whether you're parents or just a motorist going down the street. Slow down, watch for those kids because they're important for our future."