HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Westchase parents turned to 8 On Your Side amid concerns of crossing guards being removed from a congested intersection.
The intersection is located at Nine Eagles Drive and Countryway Boulevard. Parents said its chaotic when the bell rings at 4:30 p.m. at Farnell Middle School.
“There’s hundreds of kids coming out across this intersection and this whole area is packed with traffic,” said Lori, whose son is a seventh grader at Farnell.
Lori said some days, her son walks to and from school. Other days, he rides his bike or scooter.
“I’m very strict with him about leaving at the time we know the crossing guards are there because it’s a very dangerous corner,” said Lori.
“Years ago, a child was hit at this intersection, which precipitated the need for a crossing guard,” another parent, Caroline Perjessy explained.
Perjessy was referring to a 13-year-old who was hit by a car at the intersection five years ago while riding their bike to school. Thankfully, he survived.
In an email to parents, Farnell Middle School’s principal, KeLinda Lockett said crossing guards will remain at this intersection for now.
Lockett previously said on Wednesday that the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office was phasing out the crossing guards from this location, but as of Thursday afternoon the situation appeared to be resolved.
Lockett shared the following message from the HCSO Crossing Guard Division:
“The crossing location was reviewed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and was deemed to be too dangerous for student crossings. This decision was made after careful consideration. The biggest risk at this intersection is that many drivers fail to notice their surroundings. They take the same route daily and are often in a hurry failing to look around. Our deputies and crossing guards have observed overly aggressive driving at this intersection. Over the last couple of years, we have experienced several near misses while in the process of crossing your children. It is apparent drivers are increasingly distracted. This is not a staffing issue but a safety issue.”
The email also said HCSO Crossing Guard Division is in discussion with school transportation and traffic engineering to explore options.
With crossing guards remaining at the intersection for now, Perjessy is relieved not only for her son, but all students.