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N.J. 10-Year-Old Catherine McCaffrey Fights City Hall — And Wins

Fifth Grader Gets Town Of Cranford To Restore 1 School Crossing Guard
Catherine McCaffrey

Catherine McCaffrey, a 10-year-old fifth grader, recently went before her town’s commission and convinced lawmakers to restore one crossing guard cut from the budget. (Photo: CBS 2)

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CRANBURY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — She’s a fifth grader on a mission.

A New Jersey 10-year-old declared victory Friday night in her battle against City Hall. She organized a mission to reinstate school crossing guards that were laid off by budget cuts.

“It just doesn’t seem fair that for some students the town does not provide a safe route to school,” Catherine McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey passionately addressing the Cranford Town Commission over the loss of school crossing guards in her neighborhood, to budget cuts.

“I was really more nervous after I spoke. I don’t really know why. I just was,” McCaffrey told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis on Friday night.

She was nervous because she had to stand up in front of important adults and present her petition of 120 signatures.

“I’ve been working hard on this petition,” she said on a video that was showed to the commission.

She’s also been fighting for her own safety, and that of her schoolmates.

“I really just felt that if I mailed it, they wouldn’t know how bad that I really wanted it,” McCaffrey told CBS 2’s Dennis.

And her four-minute speech got action. Town Commissioner Lisa Adubato can be heard at the meeting, hinting at a plan to bring some of the 14 laid off Cranford crossing guards back.

“And in fact there has been money put into this year’s budget to try and put back some of the guards that have been lost to us in prior years,” Adubato said.

For all of her efforts, McCaffrey can really only claim a partial victory. An intersection will get a crossing guard restored, but it won’t be the one closest to her house.

“I just feel proud that I made a change and that I got one back,” she said.

“I think it’s a really good lesson that she learned about going to the council and presenting her agenda and making her request and she got part of what she wanted,” said Debbie McCaffrey, Catherine’s mother.

Catherine’s proud parents were behind her cause 100 percent, and said one crossing guard reinstated is worth it.

It just goes to show you can fight city hall, and win.

The reinstated crossing guard in McCaffrey’s neighborhood will go back on duty on Monday.

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