Parents Fight for Safer School Area

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

She's just five years old, and a few weeks ago one Odessa kindergartner was hit by a car on her way to school.

On Tuesday night, parents won the first battle to making the streets around Saint Mary's campus safer for all students, but they say a stop sign is only the first step in the fight.

"Thirty miles per hour is not very pretty on a 5-year-old," Bonda Elder said. "It's not at all"

On January 26, little Maggie Elder was hit by a car after running into the street outside of St. Mary's Catholic School.

"The guy who hit her, he was following the speed limit," Elder said. "And I think that had the speed limit been reduced, my child did run out into the street, but her injuries would have been far less significant."

So, Elder and other parents are now fighting to make sure drivers slow down near the school.

On Tuesday night, the Odessa City Council gave the green light for a new stop sign.

"I think the stop sign is a great start, and I'm grateful that the board decided to do that,"  Saint Mary's parent, Joe Salmon, said. "But it is a stepping stone, the first step of several to come for the school."

If you ask parents, the next step is to set up a school zone and lower the speed limit to 20 mph.

"I'm not doing this necessarily for her," Elder said. "She will never run out in the street again. I'm doing this for her friends and my son's friends who need the protection. I'm angry that St. Mary's has been put off and keeps getting put on the back burner."

So, Tuesday night, parents celebrated one small victory, while still hoping to one day celebrate a bigger one.

NewsWest 9 did ask the city of Odessa why St. Mary's Catholic School is not in a designated school zone. City officials said they'll send NewsWest 9 those details on Wednesday.