The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

1981 editorial still timely as schools reopen


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Aug. 03, 2018 - 1:06 AM

Longtime Newnan Times-Herald reader Frances Smith shared Jim Hardin’s May 21, 1981 editorial from WCOH, which is timely as children make their way to school starting today.

One small group of women in Newnan has gone unheralded for too long!

These are the policewomen of the City of Newnan who serve faithfully – often for years at a time – in all kinds of weather as school crossing guards. They are to be found at their posts twice a day – before school convenes and in mid-afternoon when our boys and girls leave for the return trip home.

We well remember here at WCOH many years ago when a revolutionary step was taken by the city of Newnan to employ and provide uniforms for the first women in the police department. It was found to be very difficult for the fulltime men of the department during the performance of their shift duties to be at all potentially dangerous intersections near

the schools in Newnan before and after school every day.

For one thing, we simply did not have enough men to spread this thin and this is still true today.

For another, if an emergency developed, the policemen on duty at school crossings would have to leave their posts. This brought about the revolutionary proposal to employ women on a part time basis as officers of the police department and provide uniforms for them.

Nothing is ever perfect; but this was and is a wise decision. It has worked extremely well, and these policewomen are to be highly commended for their loyalty, sense of responsibility and dedication to assigned duties.

These duties are to do everything within their ability to see that our sons and daughters enter and leave the area of their respective schools safely.

The record speaks for itself. The city of Newnan has one of the most impressive pedestrian safety records in Georgia; and this editorialist cannot personally remember when any child has been injured where the policewomen guarding the school crossings have been on duty.

We have noticed the close friendships that develop between them and the children they see every day. It is quite obvious that they love children or they simply would not be on the job.

Of course, they are paid; but the pay is simply not large enough to motivate these woman to do the type of job they carry out with such obvious pride. We are always impressed with the manner in which they care for and wear their uniforms.

To repeat an old expression, they always look just like they had stepped out of a bandbox. In short these policewomen who serve part time as school crossing guards are a credit to Newnan.

They are always cheerful, quick to smile and wave when their duties permit. I like to drive by a school when they are on duty; because I get a smile and a cheerful greeting that brightens my day.

If that happens to an old codger like Jim Hardin, think how much it means to the children they guard. May we sincerely suggest that you parents who are listening with children in one of the schools inside the Newnan city limits, pause a moment between now and the end of school to personally thank the policewomen who guard the dangerous crossings near your child’s school.

We have pointed out their cheerfulness; but let a driver ignore their directions or drive dangerously enough to threaten their little charges and their whole demeanor changes. They simply won’t tolerate threats to the children’s safety and do call in their fulltime police associates to make arrests when the occasion demands.

We have pointed out before on these editorials how easy it is to take our blessings for granted and fail to thank those who serve quietly and efficiently throughout the years. With our policewomen at school crossings, we are all guilty of the sin of omission. It’s time we recognized their unselfish service and WCOH says, “Thank you,” from the bottom of our hearts on behalf of the WCOH staff and management.