Education

Questions arise about school crossing guards after 7-year-old west El Paso student is struck, killed

EL PASO, Texas - One day after a tragic pedestrian fatality in west El Paso, the question now arises: is there more that can be done to keep El Paso children safe?

7-year-old Alexa Barrera was struck and killed at the scene of a crosswalk along Thorn and Ridge, as she was walking to Roberts Elementary School with her 14-year-old sister. Barrera was on a crosswalk on an intersection controlled by a four-way stop sign. There was also a flashing school zone sign with a posted 15-mile per hour speed.  The question remains, is there more that can be done to keep children safe?

When it comes to crossing guards at schools, each campus is in charge of making that decision.
"All schools work with the city of El Paso for appropriate school zone designation and signage," said El Paso Independent School District Spokesman Gustavo Reveles. "The need for guards is a campus-based decision based on their needs."

The Ysleta Independet School District is on the same page as EPISD. Chris Lechuga, the spokesman for YISD, confirmed to ABC-7 that crossing guards are not standard at all campuses.

"This is a campus responsibility and discretion. It is up to the campus if one is required and where the crossing guard is assigned." Lechuga said.

At Kohlberg Elementary School, Rafael Caraveo is tasked with pedestrian safety as the crossing guard. It's a job he's been doing for six years, and he says he's seen a lot of people not obeying the law.

"It's the same problem they don't respect the speed limit," Caraveo said. "People ask me, are you a cop? No, I'm not a cop but I'm here to protect the children".

Those who are in charge of our children's safety are not there by chance. School crossing guards undergo traffic training with local police, sometimes multiple times a year. Crossing guards who call in sick have substitutes, meaning crosswalks are always manned during drop off and pick up hours.


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