Little girl’s death prompts change at intersection

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As students crossed the street at Spottswood and Josephine Tuesday afternoon they had some help from a new crossing guard.

Mom Laquita Parker was relieved by the sight — but sad that it took the recent death of a 6-year-old girl to make it happen. The guard was stationed at the corner, right next to the little girl's memorial.

"We so excited, very excited. It's sad that it had to take a child's life in order to get a crossing guard," Parker said.

Her children, ages 6 and 10, cross busy Spottswood and Josephine daily, and she's always been scared.

"I actually had to meet them most of the time but I feel more safe there's a crossing guard now."

Last week a Hanley Elementary student and his family came to monitor the corner to help because they said not enough was being done and there were no crossing guards.

"We've got to do a better job of protecting our children," State Rep. G.A. Hardaway said.

Hardaway said he's planning to meet with school board members to evaluate safety plans for all schools in the Memphis area to see how state lawmakers can play a role.

"That's part of what I'm doing today is seeing what's in statute and what needs to be in statute."

He says everyone — parents, schools, law enforcement — need to be in on the conversations of keeping children safe.

"We need to have a plan for each school, the state needs to have some guidance in each statute about who develops those plans, what areas and what specific concerns need to be addressed."

If a crossing guard can't be present he acknowledges other changes can be made too like blinking lights, more signage or even special cones in the street to alert drivers.

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