A popular crossing guard is back at work in Trophy Club after residents voiced their concerns about his absence.
Just before the start of school last week, the Trophy Club Police Department posted on its Facebook page that Alvin Peters, 74, would not be a crossing guard this year.
The post went on to say, “The safety and security of our community’s children is our first priority and we appreciate Mr. Alvin’s years of service. Human Resources information is protected and prohibits us from releasing additional information.”
News spread quickly on social media and was met with a flurry of negative feedback, with residents voicing their disappointment in the news and the manner in which it was posted about one of their favorite crossing guards and neighbors.
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Peters works as a crossing guard at Beck Elementary School.
“He was the one bright spot on the way to school,” Janice Tammen commented on Facebook. “Our whole family is disappointed.”
Many residents said the department shouldn’t have waited until a few days before school started to tell Peters he wouldn’t be returning, and several felt the statement was poorly worded.
“The rumor mill will take over at this point,” commented Craig Brandon, questioning why the post was even made.
One resident started a fundraiser to help Peters, a retired welder who started working as a crossing guard in Trophy Club about four years ago. In a couple days, more than $3,000 was raised for Peters.
Trophy Club Public Information Officer April Reiling said many residents got upset and it “became a contentious issue for the community.”
Reiling said the feedback was a factor in the decision to rehire Peters.
“We want to do what’s right for the community,” Reiling said. “We’re here to serve the residents, and when they speak, we listen and act accordingly.”
‘That’s how we’ve done it’
Reiling said part of the problem was that some misinformation was spread, primarily on social media, but declined to elaborate.
Reiling said the police department had not received Peters’ job application, which employees in seasonal positions must fill out every year. When the town didn’t receive his application, it announced he wasn’t returning, Reiling said.
Peters, however, said he and other crossing guards would always fill out the applications during a safety meeting before the start of school.
“I’ve been here four years, that’s how we’ve done it,” Peters said.
Before that meeting, Peters said Trophy Club Det. Keith Burris came to his door to inform him “they were not bringing me back,” and collected his equipment. Peters said he was told he wasn’t returning because of his absences last year, though he said he was never warned about that.
Reiling said the town can’t release more information about the issue because it is a personnel matter, but Police Chief Patrick Arata did release the following statement:
“We apologize for any confusion regarding Mr. Alvin and his service to the Town, and appreciate the community's support for both Mr. Alvin and the Police Department. We look forward to another great school year with all our crossing guards who help the police department make sure that our children remain safe while walking to school.”
‘I’m glad to be back’
Peters received a warm welcome from families during his first week back in front of Beck Elementary School, which is in the Northwest school district. Trophy Club is responsible for providing crossing guards outside of schools in its town.
“They were glad to see me back,” he said. “I’m glad to be back.”
Peters said he’s grateful for the community that supported him.
“I’m very honored for them to get behind me like they did,” he said, waving to families as they drove by. “I’ve never met any people that has been so friendly to me. It’s good to have a lot of friends.”