Thunder Mountain parents want to see crossing guards

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- After a five-year-old girl was struck by a pickup truck while walking to Thunder Mountain Elementary School today, concern is growing among parents about students' safety getting to and from school.

Parent Joee Stephan said she took it upon herself last year to try to become a crossing guard for the intersection of 31 Road and F 1/2 Road, but faced "red tape" and roadblocks from the City, County and District.

"Bottom line is make the kids safe, that's it," Stephan said. "We are not asking for lights or police officers, we're asking for one human being, voluntary or otherwise, to stand out here for 20 minutes a day."

Stephan said her concern stems from the lack of sidewalks and crossing guards, particularly this year with fewer buses and more students walking.

"Whether it's carpooling or anything else, if we cannot get a handle on the tax budgets, we as parents need to step up and take precaution ourselves," said Shannan Knutson, another concerned parent.

KKCO 11 News reached out to District 51 officials about what it would take to get a crossing guard at that intersection, but Tim Leon, District 51 Director of Safety and Transportation, said it's a gray area because the intersection is not on school property, and instead lies on Mesa County property.

"We encourage the community to get involved with the safe transport of students to the school," Leon said. "There's several ways to do that. They can form community groups that we call walking buses, where parents can take large groups of students and walk them to school. Or they can assist with students crossing the streets at crosswalks."

Stephan said she is not going to take "no" for an answer, until a crossing guard is implemented. She encourages other parents to work together on this issue.

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