Patches The Crossing Guard Dog ‘Fired’

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JERSEY SHORE -- We first introduced you to Patches the crossing guard dog last week. Since then, Patches is no longer allowed out at the crosswalk while his owner is on duty.

Jersey Shore Area School District officials told their employee he can no longer have his dog Patches outside at the crosswalk while he's working.

The school district wants people to know this decision was made not because of Patches, but because it keeps everyone around the crosswalk safe.

Almost every day, crossing guard Brad Curtis is out with his big red sign and orange safety vest on the corner of Allegheny Street in Jersey Shore.

But parents also expect to see something else when they reach the intersection.

"Patches is missing," said Jersey Shore resident Amy Wampler. "We didn't see him this morning and we wondered why, and now he's not here."

"We see the dog every day, every single day for almost two years now," said another resident.

Curtis works for Jersey Shore Area School District. He usually brings his 5-year-old Multipoo with him to work.

Lyra Clark could see the dog from her shop Country Beary Shack. The pooch wears his own stop sign and safety vest.

"People come by, even take pictures of him. He's been on the news. Everybody likes him. He's a really nice dog."

It seems most everyone loves Patches, but school officials won't let the dog stay at the crosswalk because it's against school policy.

Before Newswatch 16's story, Jersey Shore Area School District officials tell us employees who monitor the crosswalks didn't know about the pooch.

No one has ever reported the dog to the school.

The school district's superintendent tells Newswatch 16:

"We have clear policies in the school district regarding any type of animal during the work day. Yes, he is a cute, adorable pet. The bottom line: there are always unanticipated risks with an animal. Any known distraction needs to be removed."

"It's good that the school did that though because Patches could have done stuff even if he was trained," said fifth grader Justyce Wampler.

"But it's also upsetting because kids really liked to see Patches."

"For safety I can understand that, but Patches can always stay in my parking lot. He is always welcome here," said Clark.

As for Curtis the crossing guard, he says he plans to continue his job even without Patches.

2 comments

  • Janet Soderstrom

    This smacks of ivory tower buffooery. Email I sent to the entire school board:
    I am a former teacher with a Masters in Secondary Education. I am also a therapy dog handler with my dog Bijou. We go to local hospitals, nursing homes, veterans’ facilities, camps for disabled kids, and SCHOOLS.
    I think your decision to have Patches removed because of “school policy” is ridiculous. If there is something in writing in your “policy” that prohibts having Patches, then change the policy to allow the dog. Require the dog to have proof of vaccinations, or be registered as a therapy dog—whatever. But to claim the dog was a “distraction” smacks of ivory tower buffoonery and destroys your credibility. Anyone walking their dog near that intersection is also a “distraction.” Are you going to outlaw that too?
    By not allowing Patches to be with Mr. Curtis, you have taken away a very teachable moment. Being around a friendly, well trained dog teaches children not to be afraid of dogs, compassion toward animals, reduces stress, and shows them what unconditional love is. I urge you to do whatever is necessary to reverse your decision as soon as possible.

  • Michael Pritchyk

    Are kidding me that school district has nothing better to worry about than a man with is dog that does a cross walk that they have to ban the dog what is this area coming too. Im sure the school is paying so much money to go out and d o this too

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