Parents call for permanent crossing guards where bus hit 9-year-old
Published Sunday, December 3, 2017 5:41PM PST
Last Updated Monday, December 4, 2017 3:33PM PST
Parents at an Abbotsford school where a nine-year-old girl was hit and killed by a bus on Friday are calling for improved crosswalk safety.
Jennifer Dixon walks her two children to school at Ten-Broeck Elementary School and says the surrounding intersections are dangerous. Earlier this week, one proved fatal when Hala Albarhoum, a nine-year-old Syrian refugee, was hit by a BC Transit bus when she was walking to class.
"There was nobody there to protect her," said Dixon, referring to the absence of a crossing guard that morning. "We just need somebody full time."
There are lights at the intersection where Albarhoum was hit, but parents also want to see permanent crossing guards. Right now, the district pays contract workers to watch the intersection but only when they're available.
Even after the tragedy, the district says there are no immediate plans to make any changes.
"The board will be talking about this in the future, certainly," said Shirley Wilson, chair of the Abbotsford School District. "At this point I can't really comment on the crossing guard situation itself."
To Dixon, however, that's not enough.
"This is unacceptable to me, that they're not going to change anything."
On Monday, the district is bringing in a response team to help Hala's young peers grieve.
A fundraiser for the Albarhoums as already raised almost $24,000 to help cover funeral costs and buy a vehicle for the family. They came to Canada as government-sponsored refugees, and no longer receive any government assistance because more than a year has passed since their arrival.
For parents at Ten-Broeck, the focus is shifting to prevent another incident like the one that killed Albarhoum from happening again.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Breanna Karstens-Smith