Parents of Barron Elementary students are speaking out against a recent change to the crosswalk at the school and have even announced a “call to action” for Hampton Council Parent Teacher Association members to convene in a town hall meeting on Dec. 5.
“Bring your ideas, thoughts, and suggestions on how we can work together with Hampton Police Division, Hampton City Schools, and the City of Hampton to reach our common goal of getting our students to and from school safely,” the meeting’s flyer reads.
Concern for students who previously crossed the street for school at Foxhill Road and St. Albans Drive trended on social media after the crossing guard who had typically been staged at the intersection was no longer posted.
“The regularly scheduled crossing guard is out for a medical concern,” said Reggie Williams, a Hampton Police spokesman.
To protect the guard’s privacy, Williams couldn’t say how long the guard was expected to be on medical leave.
To mitigate the guard’s temporary absence Williams said police have moved the crossing location to the signaled crosswalk at Foxhill Road and Old Fox Hill Road and through a pilot program have also trained school staff to “backfill” the shortage of crossing guards and supervise the intersection.
“Crossing guards historically are a difficult position to fill sometimes because of the split hours…it’s always good to have backup plans in place and that’s what the pilot program is designed to do,” he said.
Hampton Police took to social media on Nov. 13 as a means to ease parents concerns but ultimately caused concerns to intensify as other residents became aware of the matter.
Residents like Donna Lynn Youngblood McCord who lives across the street from Barron Elementary made their concerns public on the post.
Several shared the sentiment that heavily transited Fox Hill Road wasn’t the best place for children to walk, McCord called it “an oversight or lack of logical decision making regarding the safety of our children.”
Williams agreed the thoroughfare from Fox Hill Road through Mercury is a high point for traffic but also said with painted crosswalks, a school zone, stop signs, and lighted pedestrian crossing signal, “wouldn’t deem it to be unsafe.”
The Hampton Council Parent Teacher Association has invited families, educators, students, and community members to their scheduled meeting at 1 Franklin St. on Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m.