School districts forced to improvise without crossing guards

NOW: School districts forced to improvise without crossing guards

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Several area school districts and municipalities had to improvise Monday morning after the crossing guard company they have contracts with suddenly closed its doors over the weekend. 

Wauwatosa Public Works Department had workers at the intersection of 70th and Bluemound Road filling in as crossing guards to help with the busy morning commute. 

Former crossing guards for Wisconsin Personal Protection Services say they got a call Saturday night telling them not to come in Monday.

“I went what?" Dino Petrangelo said. "What about the kids?”

CBS 58 showed up at the company headquarters, but nobody was there. The voicemail says “due to unfortunate circumstances with the Department of Workforce Development, our establishment is shut down.”

Court records show the DWD filed two lawsuits against WPPS over more than $90,000 in delinquent unemployment taxes.

Some of the crossing guards stepped up.

“Regardless we’re going to be at work," Petrangelo said. "You know, the kids are more important than a job right now.”

WPPS worked with Wawautosa, West Allis, Menomonee Falls, Shorewood, and Waukesha.

The Waukesha Police Department says they didn’t find out until an employee let them know yesterday that they wouldn’t be showing up.

“It is unfortunate that the company chose not to contact us directly, or give us any time to man these sights,” Lt. Kevin Rice said.

So cities scrambled for solutions, including putting police officers, school personnel and volunteers on the corners for the kids.

Whittier Elementary School Principal Tahereh DeLeon filled one crossing herself.

"I myself decided to just take it on, and went to the corner to make sure everybody was coming across safely,” DeLeon said.

Waukesha PD handles the crossing guard contracts for the city. They said the volunteers are great, but that isn’t sustainable.

“We are working with the city on what a long term solution would look like. No telling how long that would take, but it might take some time.”

The West Allis-West Milwaukee School District also has a contract with the company and sent an email to parents telling them crossing guards may not be on duty and they need to take extra precautions for their children. 

The City of Wauwatosa is now looking to hire temporary crossing guards. For more information, please click here. 

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