Friday, April 24, 2020
Media Contact: Samantha Foster
Anthony Beckford's statement to the New York City Council and Mayor De'Blasio:
New York City's School Crossing Guards are underappreciated. If anything is a testimony to this, it is the disparities they face not only pre-pandemic but also during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am the son of a school crossing guard. My mother has dedicated over 30 years of her life to ensuring the safety of thousands of children going to and from school, as well as community members. DC 37 / Local 372 President Shaun Francois has worked tirelessly to make sure that school crossing guards receive the necessary PPEs they need while on duty, but the City itself has to do it's part. I, myself have gone out to hand out homemade hand sanitizers to SCGs. The City must remember who is on the front lines of street safety when it comes to our youth. This is through rain, sleet, snow and blistering heat.
During this pandemic, many of the schools crossing guards across the city have answered the call as essential workers and committed members of our communities. Many have underlying conditions and some have even falling victim to COVID-19 but are told they if they don't work they don't get paid. Majority of the school crossing guards in this city are Women of Color who are providing for their families. SCGs are being told to come to work even if they have underlying issues, are sick or are experiencing symptoms that should allow them to self quarantine. If they decide to self quarantine they are being penalized and are not being paid. This is in violation of Federal, State and Local Orders that were issued during this pandemic, as well as a violation of the Matilda Law and Safe Worker Provisions.
School Crossing Guards need adequate paid leave, they must be given adequate PPEs, giving hazard pay, and treated with dignity. If a School Crossing Guard has an underlying issue, tests positive for COVID-19, is sick with symptoms and is not able to get testing or is caring for someone such as a spouse, child, parent or any other dependent who has fallen ill due to this deadly virus, they must still be able to receive their full pay without being penalized.
I have been contacted by many guards as well as their supervisors and told their fears and concerns. There are many school crossing guards right now, that are hospitalized and the fact that they are not covered financially is an added burden to them. Let's us do the right thing and take care of the School Crossing Guards. No essential worker must be left behind
Along with this, School Crossing Guards are already underpaid and are not given adequate access to receive unemployment during the summer months when schools are closed and during holidays and school breaks. I am calling on the city to make the necessary changes needed so that they are no longer facing these road blocks. I am also calling on the City to give all schools notice that School Crossing Guards are to be given access to the schools for lunch breaks and bathroom breaks, not only during this pandemic, but post-pandemic as well.
Again, these are the things that are needed to make sure that School Crossing Guards are taking cared of as any other employee of the City of New York is. I look forward to your immediate decision on making sure that all of these matters are addressed.
(Community Leader / City Council Candidate of the 45th District)