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Since You Asked: Crossing guard has a role to play in child safety

Since You Asked, I need you to settle an argument I've had with my daughter since school started this fall. Whenever I walk her to school, we cross a street with the help of some fourth-grade crossing guards who make us stop and wait until they decide we can cross.

I know we have the right of way and can go when we please, but by daughter insists that we shouldn't. Who's right? And while you're at it, what about the school sign that says "Right Turn Only" out of the parking lot during school hours?

— M.F., by e-mail

Well, M.F., we at Since You Asked Central certainly know what it's like getting bossed around by a fourth-grader, even when she's wrong.

"The only people required by law to follow (crossing guards') directions are drivers," says Lt. Bob Hansen of the Medford Police Department. "They're there for the safety of the pedestrians and I hope parents would obey them."

The crossing guards typically wait for a little posse of kids to collect at the corner, then block traffic to escort the kids through the crosswalk. Sure, you have the authority to dart out into traffic, but it's probably better that you just wait.

While you won't get punished, you might get more than stink-eye from your daughter if you side-step the crossing guard.

"It's not a violation of law, but it could be a violation of school policy," Hansen says.

As for the right-turn-only sign, that also is an unenforceable advisory, Hansen says.

"They can't regulate the flow of traffic on their own," Hansen says. "They can advise people where they want them to go."

So congratulations, you are smarter than a fourth-grader on the nuances of crosswalk law. But our best advice is just go with the flow. That's why the crossing guards are there.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.