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Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette
A woman announces students’ rides and helps guide them Friday at Forest Park Elementary School.

Look out for bright vests

Longer school day means crossing guards work unfamiliar hours

In theory, they’re hard to miss.

Clad in bright vests and holding stop signs in the middle of the road, crossing guards stationed near schools have been a staple for years.

But lately, with Fort Wayne Community Schools having an extra hour of classes each day because of inclement weather, some drivers have been surprised to see the crossing guards.

So much so that Fort Wayne police are urging people to be extra cautious and aware of them.

Especially motorists who don’t normally encounter them on their commutes home from work.

“A lack of anticipation has created some close calls recently,” said officer Michael Joyner, spokesman for the Fort Wayne Police Department.

“It’s a little discouraging we’re encountering this issue,” he said.

State law requires that all drivers obey the instructions of a school crossing guard and stop before their vehicles enter crossing zones.

The law, as written, states, “Whenever a person who drives a vehicle approaches a school crossing zone, the person shall exercise extraordinary caution to secure the safety of children in the school crossing zone.”

Drivers can be given a ticket if police see them violating rules of the crossing zone.

The crossing guards are hired by the Fort Wayne Police Department, but Fort Wayne Community Schools echoed the police department’s caution.

“We have a number of students who walk to school, so it’s important to keep an eye out,” FWCS spokeswoman Krista Stockman said.