Crossing Guard Has Earned Respect�� of Students


(Sunday, June 17, 2007 6:39 AM EDT)

The traffic by Swanson Middle School can be heavy, and crossing the street is sometimes tricky. Thankfully, crossing guard James Tingler is there to help students get across safely.

Tingler has lived in Arlington since the 1940s, and performed wave analysis for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He became a crossing guard in 1999 as a way to stay busy in retirement.

Tingler has been the crossing guard for Swanson at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Patrick Henry Drive for the past seven years, and has developed an attachment to the school and students.

“I enjoy [my job] very much,” Tingler said in a recent interview. “I like working with kids, and they like me.”

Working as a crossing guard is only a part-time job for 77-year-old Tingler, who spends a lot of his free time working around the house or in the yard. But he takes his guard duties very seriously, always at his post early and rarely missing a day of work.

“I do not think he has missed one day in the four years I've been at Swanson,” said principal Chrystal Forrester. “It is reassuring to have him at this intersection.”

When Tingler first started, he said he was a little nervous about the responsibility involved, but now he is comfortable in the position, and has a good amount of control over the students

“You have to get used to it, because it makes the kids feel safer,” he said. “I try to keep them in line, and most of them listen. They're used to me being here.”

Although Tingler said he loves working as a crossing guard, he is not sure how much longer he will keep at it. He said he would like to devote some time to traveling, “while I'm still young.”

James Tingler has been a crossing guard in Arlington since 1999, after a career with the Army Corps of Engineers.
(Photo by Kristen Armstrong)

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