KISD renews focus on school safety

Two KISD students were struck by vehicles in separate incidents last week. Officials with KISD are asking the public to be cautious in school zones. 

Following two pedestrian accidents involving students last week, the Kingsville Independent School District and Kingsville Police Department are asking the public – whether on foot or in a vehicle – to be aware of their surroundings while inside school zones.

Last Thursday, a H.M. King High School student was accidentally struck by a vehicle during the morning hours while at a bus stop. KISD Superintendent Elida Bera said the student “just didn’t want to get on the bus” and their grandmother told the bus driver to continue his route.

Bera said the bus driver returned to the bus stop 10 minutes later to pick up the student.

“And that’s when they saw what was going on,” Bera said. “The ambulance was already there.”

Another student pedestrian accident occurred Friday after school, when a Gillett Intermediate student was hit by a car traveling at a slow speed in the campus’s parking lot.

Bera said both students were taken to Christus Spohn Hospital Kleberg and treated for minor bruising.

“There were no serious injuries,” she said. “But the fact that we had two (accidents) let’s us know that we really do need to look at our curriculum for pedestrian safety.”

Bera said the district is working with a new drop-off system at its campuses, which includes new safety measures such as a Raptor check-in system for visitors that requires a driver’s license check before being allowed inside the schools.

“Yes, it’s slowed things down at the start of school, but safety (of our students) is the main thing,” she said.

Bera said staff will be addressing pedestrian safety with students at all campuses.

“We’re talking to them about the importance of looking both ways before crossing the street, only crossing on crosswalks and being aware of their surroundings,” she said. “And we do have teachers out there (during pick-up and drop-off) watching the students.”

Bera cautioned drivers to also be aware of their surroundings in school zones.

“Because many of our elementary children are too little to be seen, or they’ve got other things on their mind and are excited to be at school and darting in-between cars,” she said.

Kingsville Police Chief Ricardo Torres also stressed the importance of drivers in school zones watching out for children and pedestrian traffic.

“Watch for children because sometimes they’ll jump out in front of cars without looking both ways,” Torres said. “It’s unintentional more than anything else, and as adults, we need to be cognizant of that and understand that even speed limits in school zones can be too fast and you may need to slow down even more depending on the situation.”

Torres said while “everyone seems to be in a hurry” in the mornings and afternoons, drivers should give themselves ample time during their commutes and prepare to slow down if they are traveling through a school zone.

“Slow down, take extra time and follow the traffic patterns that have been set up at each of the schools,” he said. “There are specific places (on campuses) where children are picked up and dropped off, and we need to follow that direction.”

Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at aruiz@king-ranch.com or (361) 221-0251.

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