Skip to main content

Sandy Journal

Crossing guard supervisor and advocate, Janice Parker, retires after 30 years of service

May 07, 2024 11:42AM ● By Rebecca Olds

Longtime crossing guard supervisor Janice Parker of Sandy City retires after a career of advocating for crossing guards in the city.

Janice Parker stands on the corner of Park Lane Elementary, supervising a little bit back from the sidewalk to stay out of the active duty crossing guards’ way.

She doesn’t want to distract them, so she observes without a word. 

“She’s really patient,” Karen Hibler, who has been a crossing guard for 11 years, said of Parker. “It’s going to be really hard to fill her shoes.”

Parker is retiring in June after 30 years of service as Sandy City’s first-ever Crossing Guard Supervisor, during which time she’s made sure crosswalks were covered by a crossing guard to keep kids safe.

“If we didn’t have crossing guards, I can’t imagine the fatalities that could happen with children,” Parker said. “Kids are unpredictable and when they get up there, they start playing, and pretty soon they’re on the edge of the road.”

A dangerous job 

In total, Parker manages 65 crossing guards for all the schools across the city, who she said are very dedicated to their jobs ranging in age from college students to more than 80 years old. 

“Crossing guards are important to the community because they keep the children of Sandy safe,” Parker said, “and because of that, they deserve your respect.”

Parker worked as a crossing guard for a year before becoming the Crossing Guard Supervisor and throughout her career has been a strong advocate for the crossing guards on duty, making them feel valued and stand out in the community.

Mayor Monica Zoltanski said a lot of the time crossing guards are “right in the line of fire when it comes to traffic, traffic management and distracted driving.”

“They take on a lot of risk to keep the kids safe and they take on a lot of expense…to purchase flashing lights, safety reflective tapes, cones, signs and extra blinking lights,” said Zoltanski.

Parker said in recent years crossing guards have received a lot of support from local officials, including Zoltanski.

“The mayor and our chief of police have put forth a lot of value for our crossing guards and that means a lot because they do feel valued now,” she said.

Her position as supervisor has been a critical role in getting more recognition for crossing guards as Parker is the first and only one to hold the position of the Crossing Guard Supervisor in the city. The position was created, she said, to take some weight off of the police department who run the public crosswalks.

“The sergeants have a lot of responsibility just with their police responsibilities,” Parker said, “and then they had to take on the crossing guard, so they created my position.”

“I have just loved my job, I haven’t regretted anything,” she said. 

A community of crossing guards

Parker has made an impact by getting the crossing guards together and recognizing them for their achievements and service by organizing the annual Crossing Guard Appreciation Dinner.

“I thought there’s gotta be a way to get these people together socially because they all work independently,” Parker said. 

What started as a potluck, evolved into an appreciation dinner funded by Sandy’s police department that awards crossing guards for their service to the community.

The dedication of this “league of champion crossing guards” as Zoltanski described the crossing guards of Sandy, is from the leadership of Parker, she said.

Sandy’s crossing guards are so dedicated in fact, that one time Parker received a call in the early morning from an ambulance driver calling on behalf of a crossing guard who was having a heart attack. After apologizing for waking her up, the crossing guard told her that he couldn’t report to duty that morning and would need a substitute.

“That’s just how dedicated these crossing guards are,” Parker said. “And I did need to know that because someone had to be at that crosswalk and nobody would’ve known.”

The show must go on

Only after the crossing is done for the day, does Parker chat with the school’s crossing guards, Laura Meier, Monica Calmes and Hibler.

Even now they talk about new patches that will go on their work coats to recognize them as crossing guards—and they’re excited for them.

Parker’s replacement hasn’t been publicly announced yet. As a last hurrah, she’ll lead Sandy’s annual Fourth of July parade alongside the city’s crossing guards as the Grand Marshall of the parade.

“She will be honored, along with the other crossing guards front and center at the top of the parade this year,” Zoltanski said. “I think you’ll agree that it’s a very fitting honor for Janice and all the service she’s provided to the school kids, schools and schools’ communities throughout the city.” λ