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Dance in support of Dufferin's dancing crossing guard

Posted by Aubrey Jax / May 16, 2014

dancing crossing guardWhile Rob Ford dances at City Hall whenever he wants, local celeb and master of awesome moves Kathleen Byers (AKA the dancing crossing guard) was suspended without pay from her job helping kids this week for, no, not smoking crack or uttering offensive remarks: dancing in a local music video while in uniform. Just how scandalous was this performance? See for yourself - the vid is safe for work unless you're supposed to be helping kids cross the street, in which case you should keep your eyes on the road.

The Born Ruffians video, set to their rock-and-roll love song "Oh Cecilia," sees Kathleen schooling some hardwood floors, after flashing some clips of the Byers controversy from last year where she was asked to stop dancing. It's a lo-fi, outsider art-y contribution to both the dialog on Toronto being no damn fun, and the group effort to make this city more damn fun.

Upon the video's release 60-odd year old Byers was suspended by the Toronto Police for donning her neon vest for "a purpose other than prescribed in Toronto Police Service rules and procedures." After ten years on the job, she's decided to quit, confessing she's tired of fighting City Hall to make people smile. But it's not all her fight - we can't just rely on Kathy Byers to make Toronto quit telling us to stop dancing.

That's why on Sunday May 18th at noon, Vag Halen singer Vanessa Dunn is helping organize a video shoot slash protest at Byers' crosswalk on Dufferin, just south of Dundas. Activists are encouraged show up in uniform and dance the safety dance before Toronto's Footloose claw extends to our bedrooms, where all the best dance parties are. The city reversed the draconian EDM ban - now it's time to take it to the streets.

RSVP and learn more about the video shoot on Facebook.



poh / May 16, 2014 at 07:49 am
Maybe there's something to the dancing because she looks great for 60.
Move it or lose it replying to a comment from poh / May 16, 2014 at 08:40 am
I agree !
Kate / May 16, 2014 at 09:14 am
That video gave me the biggest smile this morning! That's so sad that TPS services has so much time on their hands that this is the kind of "work" they to which they have to resort. From one Kathleen to another, ROCK ON!
Pdot / May 16, 2014 at 09:28 am
I love her so much! Have danced my way across the street with her many times. Hope the protest will encourage her to come back.
Joe Fresh / May 16, 2014 at 09:32 am
Toronto Police can do whatever they like and get suspended with pay with no problem.
This woman who dances and puts smiles on many peoples faces gets suspended without pay?
Fuck the Toronto Police. This just proves they have priorities all wrong.
bob loblaw / May 16, 2014 at 09:37 am
Grow the fuck-up Toronto will ya?
Remy / May 16, 2014 at 09:37 am
back home, we have our dacing traffic police too, they can be seen everywhere in Manila especially during Christmas holidays. We love them.
Stu / May 16, 2014 at 09:53 am
So... Our mayor can smoke crack, consort with known felons, continuously lie, and generally act like a baffon, but this woman who's only crime is dancing, is suspended for appearing in a video and dancing across the street? This city needs to loosen up.
Rafa / May 16, 2014 at 10:05 am
Rules are rules. Except when you're a rule maker.
evelinae / May 16, 2014 at 10:36 am
It's a safety dance!!!
well paid...not wealthy / May 16, 2014 at 10:50 am
Where on that vest does it say anything to tie it to police services? They could have purchased that vest at Canadian tire....custy police bulls**t.
Tanya / May 16, 2014 at 10:50 am
I love this woman! I hope she starts a new career as a dance instructor.
Jacquelyn / May 16, 2014 at 11:14 am
Keep Dancing! Can't believe they would stop such a thing! Get out your dancing shoes people! A woman dancing with a stop sign will get more attention then some senior half asleep holding a sign....just sayin!
sarah from parkdale / May 16, 2014 at 11:38 am
This is ridiculous. She is great at her job and told me in the winter that she dances to stay warm. It must get tiring standing in one spot for hours.
JC / May 16, 2014 at 02:12 pm
I'm a complete grumpy curmudgeon on this one - stop being an idiot, focus on your job PROTECTING KIDS, and stop distracting drivers at crossing areas!
Brent Rousseau / May 16, 2014 at 04:37 pm
Seriously? Her only crime is putting a smile on people's faces. I wish there were more people like her in the world, we need them.
Brittany / May 16, 2014 at 11:28 pm
Wow love how dancing and making people smile is crime...and prostitution, people literally being let off the hook for murder, and turning on flashing lights just to make it through a red light isn't
Sonia / May 17, 2014 at 09:17 am
They need to stop harassing this poor women. She does a wonderful job at protecting those children. Puts a smile on my face every morning. Go after the crossing guard a block away that hides in a doorway for most of her shift.
GrowUpPlease / May 17, 2014 at 10:39 am
I'm all about rules, and I believe they apply to everyone. I get why people are angry. We have people in power breaking the law all the time (a double standard-two sets of rules depending on where you work or how much you make), while something as benign as dancing while you work, to stay warm, would create such a fuss. The problem, here, would be if a child got hit by a car while she was dancing a jig (it is a distraction, just like ipods and cellphones can be). The city, the TPS, and the crossing guard can, then, be sued. The crossing guard (who ISN'T a TPS officer) could possibly be criminally charged as well. Her employers weren't trying to hurt her, they were trying to protect her (and the people she was charged to take care of, the kids).

I don't think this woman should have left her job. People would've much preferred to have her stay (because she is well loved), even if she couldn't dance.
tom / May 17, 2014 at 01:17 pm
this chick is dope. let her dance
GrowUpPlease / May 17, 2014 at 02:17 pm
Dancing is a distraction too.

She can dance all she wants, just not while on duty. Oh right, she quit.
DanceOnSister / May 17, 2014 at 09:45 pm
True that she probably shouldn't dance & drive, but dancing & cross-guarding might make drivers pay MORE attention to her, serving the purpose of her job quite well.

Did I miss something in the police report that children had DIED crossing the road because she was too busy making everyone happy? Seriously.
DanceOnSister / May 17, 2014 at 10:00 pm
True that dancing & driving could be dangerous. Dancing & cross-guarding might serve to draw extra attention from drivers, which would serve the job quite well.

Did I miss something in the police report where children DIED crossing this intersection because she was too busy making everyone happy? Seriously.
david ker thomson / May 18, 2014 at 08:20 am
That grumpy curmudgeon up there--look up there for him or her in the comments--shows (by accident) a whole aspect to the problem that people often overlook, that MOVEMENT is VISIBILITY. "Quit distracting drivers," says curmudgeon. But the whole point of colored vests is precisely that distraction. Drivers need to be distracted in that precise sense, to see crossing guards. I've seen guards who slide subtly into traffic with only the barest movement necessary for locomotion, and I think, "I hope you don't get hit." Crossing guards put their bodies on the line every day against heedless drivers and their massive killing machines. All of them should be required to dance. I routinely get ticketed and pulled over into dark corners and dressed down by cops so furious the spittle gathers on their lips--this happens all the time. And why? Because I'm a juggler who dances on his bike and makes people laugh. Got hit by cars twice thirty years ago for NOT dancing and not juggling on my bike, and now I always dance, yell, sing, juggle, and I never get hit. 20 of us dead every year--should have danced on our bikes!!!! If you're not dancing or otherwise getting your limbs visible, what's your plan? Get dancing! This woman is a great dancer. Dancing is life. Dancing guards save children's lives.....
david ker thomson / May 18, 2014 at 08:25 am
Thank God people like "Grow Up Please" who don't understand the basic physics of visibility weren't around my kids' crossing guards. People like that, comfortable in their massive cars, don't have to understand the basics of anything. What a shame. In the visual field of the killer cars, if you're static, you increase your chances of death. Go study some physics and leave the children alone.
david ker thomson / May 18, 2014 at 08:29 am
Who are these people in cars? Are they all disabled? Or do they just think they're better than the rest of us who take the TTC? Streets should be for bike trailers and kids and soccer games and kickball and the slow movements of anyone who's doing real work: getting organic food moved around to people who need it. Suburban drivers: go away. Stop killing our children. Streets are for dancing, not lazy drivers.
david ker thomson / May 18, 2014 at 08:29 am
I love this lady.
dylan / May 18, 2014 at 06:19 pm
Looking at the videos and pictures of Kathleen in action, there are plenty of examples of her being distracted and not paying attention to traffic. Her former posting was at a busy and dangerous intersection. She's more than welcome to dance in the 23 hours a day that she is not working as a crossing guard. But with 40 pedestrian deaths last year, we really need crossing guards to be attentive to traffic first and foremost.
Randy / May 19, 2014 at 08:52 am
Had a blast! Got buzzed Stumbled through the protest. Good times, good times.
Angus / May 19, 2014 at 06:22 pm
So is she in it more for getting herself attention than looking after the kids? Why did she stand her groud , then quit her job? Was it just about herself?
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