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Windham crossing guards vow vigilance

Willimantic Chronicle
Sept. 2, 2015

WINDHAM/WILLIMANTIC — Members of AFSCME Local 1303-432, the Windham Public School crossing guards union, said they are primed for the new school year.

The 10-member bargaining unit just elected its leaders and issued a reminder to the community that the safety of the school children is paramount.

Local 1303-432 members chose Jim Moore as president; Mike Vignone, vice president, and John Magrassi, secretary-treasurer.

The leadership election took place Aug. 18.

“We are proud union members who work on the front line of public safety. Our job is to protect the school children and we take that responsibility seriously. We treat the kids who walk to and from school like we would treat our own kids,” Moore said.

The job of a school crossing guard is not without risk. Last March, for example, Moore was assaulted by an angry motorist who was traveling too fast in a school zone, and got out of his car to confront Moore after the crossing guard tried to slow him down.

A 21-year-old Windham man was eventually arrested in that incident, which took place near Natchaug School. Juandale Avilez, of 58 Deer Run Road, Windham, was charged with second-degree breach of peace.

Moore said Local 1303-432 members will continue to make staff and public safety a major priority this year.

The local union will speak at board of education meetings to present their concerns.

“We want to work as partners with the school system and the Board to make sure we’re doing everything possible to protect our kids,” Moore said.

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