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'It's scary': Independence mom calls for crossing guards outside new elementary school

Cassell Park Elementary opened Wednesday
Posted at 10:35 PM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 23:50:03-04

INDEPENDENCE, Mo.  — Wednesday marked the first day of school for the brand new Cassell Park Elementary, located at East 31st Street South and South Hardy Avenue in Independence.

Ashley Smith, a mother of five, lives just a few blocks away from the school, where three of her five kids are enrolled this year.

With no sidewalks in sight and a narrow shoulder to the road, the walk down 31st Street to Cassell Park is treacherous.

"They're basically walking in the street," Smith's oldest child, Leo Umbowers, said.

Walking in uneven grass on the side of the street is the only other option.

"It's very hard," Smith said while walking the route. "I mean, there's like tree roots."

Smith and her wife also have concerns about drivers speeding down their street.

"We've seen two accidents take out a pole down here, take down a pole right across from the school, and that could be a kid," Smith said.

That's why she was surprised Wednesday morning to find there were no crossing guards at the intersection of 31st and Hardy. There's no crosswalk either.

"Pretty much the only thing that we have are the flashing signs, which as you can tell don't really do anything," Smith said as cars sped by.

A spokeswoman for the Independence School District said their director of public safety is taking this week to evaluate the situation at Cassell Park and decide if a crossing guard is needed and where.

Meanwhile, 41 Action News observed school staff members escorting kids across the street by Wednesday afternoon.

Smith and her family want to see permanent crossing guards in place. They also have a message for the drivers speeding near the school.

"This is a brand new school," Smith said. "Every child that is going to that school today is new. They may not know the route. They may not know where they can and can't walk or where's safe. Slow down."