I turn left on Adams Boulevard and quickly there they are, in vests with stop signs in hand. They remind me that kids are out and to keep my eyes open and speed down.
The 12 crossing guards that serve our community have always impressed me, as I have seen them interact with my children and others; they are always positive. They help children begin and end their day on a good note. My children have nothing but good things to say about the crossing guards. When asked their thoughts they say, “They are all really nice. My favorite is the older lady with the curly hair, she always asks us about our day, and we tell her about our weekends.”
These public servants are there every morning — cold, hot, rainy or otherwise — to ensure our children are safe. I didn’t realize until I started to learn a little about them that they are not employees of Clark County School District. These crossing guards are actually paid through the Boulder City Police Department, and I feel they are a very good investment of our city funds.
Every parent’s heart sank this Valentine’s Day as we learned about the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. We can’t help but put ourselves in the place of those 17 parents who received the phone call that their child would not be coming home that day. That incident has refocused my thoughts on something that I often take for granted: the safety of my children.
The sad news for America is that the number of kids killed by firearms each year does not appear to be decreasing. The good news is that the number of children that are killed in traffic accidents, both as pedestrians and occupants, is. But even with the decrease, the reality is that the most likely weapon to kill one of my children is still a motor vehicle.
Even one child being killed, no matter the weapon, gun or vehicle, is too many and I believe we need to work together to find practical ways to further protect our children. And while I am not opposed to solutions that require Washington’s involvement, I am not optimistic that any action will either occur or necessarily will have the impact that we hope.
Whenever I feel helpless in a political debate, I try to step back and think, “What can I directly do to be a part of the solution?” So, what can we do to improve kid’s safety in Boulder City?
I recently tried to thank one of the crossing guards for the protection he provides our children. He said, “Well we try, but we can only do so much; we can’t stop people from racing 40 miles per hour in the school zones or being distracted on their cellphone.”
I realized there was something I can do. I can be safer, pay more attention, be a little more responsible with this 1,000-pound plus weapon I use to get around town in every day.
I hope we will have an open and honest debate on ways we can improve the safety of our children. But while we have the debate and are unclear on exactly what changes we can or will make, I hope we both show gratitude for those who, like the crossing guards, are already doing so much to keep our children safe and don’t forget to do the little practical things each day that can and will improve their safety.
Nathaniel Kaey Gee resides in Boulder City with his wife and six kids. He is a civil engineer by day and enjoys writing any chance he gets. You can follow his work on his blog www.thegeebrothers.com.