An Upper West Side crossing guard who has been accused of anti-Semitism was pulled from her job after she crossed the wrong people, according to news reports.
Rabbi Erica Gerson, a neighborhood parent, was using the crosswalk at 79th Street and Amsterdam Avenue with her daughter on January 13. ”It was pick-up time and I was crossing as I always do with my nine-year-old. I overheard [the guard] describing one group of kids as ‘those Jewish kids,’ and I thought that was strange,” said Gerson, according to ABC News.
Gerson says the guard then called her and her daughter “nasty people” and remarked, “Now we know why there’s no peace in the Middle East.” She says the comments were “completely unprovoked,” according to the NY Post.
Gerson filed a police report immediately, according to ABC, and after doing so, learned of three similar incidents.
In addition, Gerson said, the crossing guard was often derelict in her duties, and would often be sitting on benches and eating or talking on the phone instead of working.
After hearing reports of these comments in a community meeting, Dale Brown, president of the West 79th Street Block Association, discussed removing the guard with NYPD Captain Neil Zuber, commanding officer of the 20th Precinct. Upper West Side Councilwoman Gale Brewer contacted the crossing guards union in order to make that happen, and the guard was removed from her post on February 4. It is not clear what her current work status is, according to the Post. NYPD Sgt. Edward Riley told the paper that “the disciplinary process is ongoing.” Brown says that Capt. Zuber has had a meeting with the union.
Brown says a new crossing guard has been reassigned at the intersection: “We have a wonderful crossing guard now. He protects everyone in the crosswalks and is very friendly and kind. We are delighted—the children and anyone walking in the West 79th Street cross walk at Amsterdam are all protected.”