Austin (KXAN) – The security guard at Casis Elementary School recently celebrated her 40th birthday in this role.
Clairley Eckert, 66, has been helping kids get from one side of the street to the other safely and in style for over five decades.
“The first hat that comes out is my pirate hat, September 18th,” Eckert said. “And then my food (hats) comes out because it’s the Texas State Fair and Wurstfest…then I get all my Halloween hats.” And so on.
Eckert attended Casis Elementary School from 1963 to 1969. About a decade and a half later, at age 26, she began working there as a security guard at an intersection. Eckert also worked for a time in the school cafeteria. She has been in this role for so long that she remembers helping some of the parents she sees pick up their children now that they were attending Kasis Elementary School.
“I’ve already burped and their parents’ diaper,” Eckert said. “I taught them how to tie their shoelaces, how to ride a bike. We were in the dining room,” she continued.
To show their appreciation, Casis Elementary staff hosted a 40th anniversary celebration last week. They gave her balloons and a hat, who named her “Crosswalk Queen”.
“She was really great, integral to keeping the kids safe, but also just a smiling face,” said Larry Chauvin, the school’s PE teacher. “(She) just loves to make kids laugh with her hats.”
When asked if she plans to retire the bright red octagon anytime soon, Eckert said she wants to continue as a fullback for another 40 years.
“Until I’m 100,” she said.
Lack of guards at the crossing
Before the start of the 2022-2023 school year, 55 security guards were disabled in the Austin Independent School District. Since then, Austin Public Works has managed to reduce the number of vacancies to 20, which is considered normal.
“Austin Public Works has made significant progress in hiring security guards since the start of the school year, and we have returned to our regular staffing of approximately 180 employees,” a Cheyenne Valley spokeswoman said in an email.
“We can close most of the vacancies with the help of the chiefs of checkpoints and their assistants. We recruit throughout the year and anyone who wants to apply can do so at AustinCityJobs.org,” she continued.