Hillsborough still needs 50 school crossing guards

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is hoping to hire more than 50 more crossing guards before the start of the school year next week, the sheriff said Tuesday.

The county launched a crossing guard program for most middle schools earlier this year following outcry from parents who were concerned about safety.

Following a survey of all the middle schools and using standards set by the Florida Department of Transportation, the sheriff's office determined 35 of the 42 middle schools in the county, along with 11 additional elementary schools, would have crossing guards stationed there.

"I think all of us in this room can agree, when it comes to student safety, getting to and from school safety, that's student safety. That's certainly a responsibility of ours and one that we hold near and dear to our hearts and we wanted to get it done as soon as possible," the sheriff said during a news conference.

County Commissioner Stacy White helped secure the funding for the program.

"I didn't have to sell the program one iota to Sheriff Chronister. It was just an immediate 'yes,'" White said. "Kids are learning things from these crossing guards as well. They're learning to put the device down. Take the earbuds out. Look both ways. Look for oncoming traffic. So there's sort of that teaching as well, so that we have kids that grow into adults that can be safe pedestrians."