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School Crossing Guard issue with Township still not completely resolved

Last night, the Snyder Township Board of Supervisors held their monthly meeting and the major point of discussion was the School Crossing Guard issue with the Tyrone School District.
Sergeant Timothy Mercer of the Pennsylvania State Police came to address the Supervisors and about 20 people in attendance of what the State Police has advised the School District and what the State Police can do to help out with coverage on Clay Avenue.
“We suggested that the School enter into an agreement with the Township to direct traffic, similar to what the Altoona School District has,” said Mercer. “The State Police would enter a partnership with the School District to help monitor what is happening on Clay Avenue. We would patrol as part of Operation Safe Schools. We follow a bus to and from school watching to make sure signals are being followed and watching for violations. We would patrol around the school with marked and unmarked cars plus set up radar details. With 17 troopers on our roster, we can’t commit a trooper to the school all the time, but we will do what we can to provide safety for the students.”
During the public discussion, Ray Detwiler, who ran for School board in the last election, said, “I just want to thank you up there for doing your job tonight,” said Detwiler. “Too bad none of the School Board members doing their job representing everyone in this room.” Detwiler went on to caution the Supervisors about an agreement with the School District.
“I would be very careful in how I give them permission to be crossing guards,” Detwiler added. “One comment was made that their private police was running through town. If you’re not careful, that is what you are going to give them. You’ll give his private police force to patrol any part that he wants.”
Board chairman Jim Daughenbaugh noted that there are restrictions to the agreement.
“At the last meeting I read the copy of our proposal,” said Daughenbaugh. “You can read that it doesn’t say police, it says strictly crossing guards. And they can only work on Clay Avenue. They have to be trained, they have to be in uniform and they have to control the traffic and pedestrians only.”
The Board was ready to approve a measure to grant crossing guard authority to the School District. That was before Snyder Township Solicitor Allen Gibboney told the Supervisors that legally, they were unable to give the approval.
According to the Second Class Township Code referring to Crossing Guards, the Township can approve an ordinance to give Crossing Guard authority to the Tyrone School District.
“I have drafted for your review a proposed agreement with the School District and a draft ordinance that fits the provisions for the Second Class Township Code,” said Gibboney. “With the time frame we are under, the Board would have to call a special meeting to approve the ordinance.”
After much discussion, the Board voted to advertise the proposed Ordinance and instructed Gibboney to forward the agreement to the School District’s solicitor.
According to the Second Class Township Code, the School District must make the request of the Supervisors for Crossing Guard authority.
According to the proposed agreement, “Snyder Township grants authority to the Tyrone Area School District to assume the hiring and oversight of school crossing guards for the limited and non-exclusive purpose of the management of traffic and pedestrians on Clay Avenue along the front of the Elementary School, Middle School and High School, before, during and after regular school hours and before, during and after special school events.
“The School District will be responsible for the standards of performance, discipline of personnel and other matters incident to the performance of such services. The District will also be the employer for all purposes of the school crossing guards.”
A motion was made by Supervisor Jim Chronister to advertise the Ordinance and schedule a special meeting of the Supervisors August 15th to discuss and vote on the proposed ordinance, the motion was seconded by Supervisor Ray Rogers and the motion was approved unanimously.
The Special meeting is August 15 at 7 p.m. at the Snyder Township Municipal Building.