Stop and Serve: TASD Crossing Guards Keep Students Safe


Rylee Walk

TASD Crossing Guards Sheri Hartsock and Arlene Maser have almost 40 years of combined service to the district.

School crossing guards and traffic officers are among the least acknowledged, yet most important public safety workers in any school district, especially for the community’s youngest students.

With just their wits, a high visibility yellow vest, and a hand-held stop sign, crossing guards like Arlene Maser, Sheri Hartsock, and traffic officer Ron Iddings work hard every school day to protect students by maintaining a safe environment on their way to and from school, in all types of weather conditions.

I’ve really enjoyed watching the kids grow up. I have a senior now at my bus stop that I’ve watched grow up into a beautiful young lady

— Sheri Hartsock

Maser and Hartsock have a combined 40 years of experience serving as crossing guards for the Tyrone Area School District.

While they have been working together for the past 19 years, their relationship goes a lot further than just being co-workers. They are also mother and daughter.

Maser has served the school district for 21 years and enjoyed the job enough that she encouraged her daughter to apply for the job as well.

That was 19 years ago, and both women are still on the job every school day, working intersections just a few blocks apart.

For Maser and Hartsock, the job is all about family – theirs and the families they serve.

“The kids are the best part,” said Maser. “Many of them are like part of my family.”

Her daughter feels the same way.

“I’ve really enjoyed watching the kids grow up. I have a senior now at my bus stop that I’ve watched grow up into a beautiful young lady,” said Hartsock.

Maser and Hartsock have formed bonds with many of the families that live near the intersections they guard, talking to the kids and parents almost every school day for years.

While they always enjoy seeing the children, there are a few things that they don’t like about the job.

Of course, the weather can often be a challenge. While school is often canceled for severe ice and heavy snow, cold, wind, rain, fog, heat, or humidity usually don’t cancel school, but can make the job of the school crossing guard very difficult.

But according to Miser and Hartsock, the worst weather is not as bad as dealing with the occasional distracted driver or road rage incidents from drivers who are either not paying attention or are in too big of a hurry to stop for the children on their way to school.

“I’ve almost been hit a few times. I would go out to try to stop someone and they would just fly right by me,” said Miser.

Hartsock stressed that these types of drivers are the exception, but they do make the job scary at times.

“Most people are respectful. They obey the signs and stop for the children and the buses, but there’s always someone that doesn’t listen,” said Hartsock. “I’ve had very few problems, but sometimes people just don’t stop for the signs.”

They believe that if everyone would just obey their directives that the community would be a much safer place.

Working at the busiest intersection in the school district, traffic officer Ron Iddings has also had his fair share of close calls.

Iddings is a traffic officer for the district at one of the two main intersections on the TASD campus in the mornings and afternoons, directing the older students who drive to school, as well as the staff and the school busses into and out of the busy TASD campus each school day.

The kids are the best part. Many of them are like part of my family

— Arlene Maser

Iddings has been working for the district since 2003 and has seen and experienced multiple occasions of people not obeying the traffic laws, which has resulted in many close calls and a few accidents.

“It’s like I’m in the Bermuda Triangle,” said Iddings, referring to the dozens of cars and busses that must go in and out the Clay Avenue entrance every few minutes in the mornings and afternoons.

Without people like Iddings, Hartsock, and Miser, it would be difficult to get students to and from school safely.

Iddings’s job is one of the most hectic and dangerous, directing traffic in and out of the parking lot and helping to load the students on buses.

Iddings believes that overall most people do a good job at obeying his directions. He enjoys seeing the children waving at him every day from the buses and just how nice everyone can be.

He likes when people give him a wave or a smile, and especially enjoys when people share a cookie or candy with him, but he has also seen his fair share of close calls.

In fact, he even had to take a break from his job for a while after one particularly close call with an oncoming vehicle. Even though he was shaken up by the encounter, he has since returned to the job.

The best advice that Iddings can give drivers in the morning and afternoon is to have patience.

“To the people, continue to be patient. These two [Arlene and Sheri] have to put up with a lot, The biggest thing is patience and listening to our directives. Sometimes we might get ahead of ourselves a little bit,” said Iddings, “but it’s all to keep people safe.”