WATCH: Crossing guards are the unsung heroes of many communities, but in Peterborough, Ont. one crossing guard is being told he’s breaking the rules by giving kids a high-five as he guides them across the street. Jennifer Tryon reports.
PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – A city northeast of Toronto is standing by a policy that prevents crossing guards from giving or receiving high-fives from children despite complaints from some parents that the ban is “ridiculous.”
Peterborough recently reinforced the no-touch policy for crossing guards, sparking a protest outside city hall Friday by a small group of parents and children who say the greeting is harmless.
Children carried placards declaring “Will you high-five me” and “Give a high-five, don’t take them.”
One parent who has two boys who use a crossing daily to get to Prince of Wales Public School said it had never been a problem before this week.
“We went to school Monday and were told by the guard he could no longer give or accept high-fives from kids crossing the street,” Jason Hartwick told mykawartha.com.
“It’s ridiculous. You can do both – hold up the sign, stop traffic and with the other, do a high-five.”
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But Kevin Jones, Peterborough’s manager of transportation, said the city is standing by its policy that bans any sort of physical interaction between crossing guards and the children.
WATCH: Why the City of Peterborough has banned high fives.
“Their main priority is to monitor traffic, to direct traffic and to make sure the kids are safe at the crossing and they need to devote their attention to those duties,” said Jones, who said about 10 people were at the protest.
He said the guards were recently reminded of the policy after city officials noticed a couple of situations where high-fiving could have been considered dangerous, including one where a child high-fived a guard’s sign in the middle of a crossing.
“That’s just the type of situation where that could have resulted in a slip and a fall in the middle of a busy roadway,” he said.
The city employs about 40 guards who serve at 35 locations.