LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Clark County is experiencing a shortage of crossing guards, according to the company it contracts with to hire them, prompting safety concerns for children who walk to and from school.

Workers are losing interest, and schools are losing crossing guards, Simone Esson said. She began as one in Summerlin in 2017.

“It’s an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon,” Esson said in Gardens Park and Community Center Wednesday morning, where one of three crossing guard hiring events were held Wednesday morning. “That’s our job. We’re there to protect the children.”

Now, Esson is assistant regional manager for All City Management Services (ACMS), the company contracted by Clark County to hire crossing guards.

However, she said few people turned out to the morning event. Though she’s in a new role, the manager is still performing entry-level duties by filling in as a crossing guard when staffing is low.

“They’ll give notice the same day,” Esson said. “We’ve had difficulty hiring, or just interest, interest in the positions.”

She said ACMS staffs over 800 public and private elementary schools in Clark County, requiring roughly 1,000 crossing guards for “comfortable” staffing. At the moment, they’re “hundreds” of crossing guards short, with the largest shortages in the central valley compared to the outlying communities.

She said the biggest impact of this was felt at the beginning of the school year with “quite a bit of turnover.” Seemingly, senior workers retiring, younger workers choosing other jobs, and recent changes in school start and end times are contributing to the shortage.

Pedestrian safety advocates have efforted expanded crossing guard access to middle schools this school year, according to UNLV Road Equity Alliance Project Director Erin Breen. Though she said all students deserve this protection, she acknowledged elementary students may need it more.

“It’s children’s job to be unpredictable,” Breen said outside a Spring Valley school Wednesday afternoon. “The potential for kids making bad decisions gets greater because there’s not an adult there to watch their every behavior.”

Esson added ACMS is doing “quite a bit of hiring,” but is fearful of the repercussions of not having enough crossing guards on the street.

“If we don’t cover, there could be an accident. If we’re late getting to the crosswalk, within that 10, 15 minutes, or even one minute, someone could be hurt,” Esson said.

According to a Clark County Facebook post, crossing guards must be 18 years old at least and pass an agility and balance assessment. Successful applicants are paid $15.50 an hour in unincorporated Clark County, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson.

Those looking for more information can call (800) 540-9290 or visit Clark County’s crossing guard webpage.