A group of parents at Mulrennan Middle School took their children’s safety into their own hands last month. Frustrated by the conditions for students who walk to the Valrico middle school, the parents raised $13,000 through a dodgeball tournament to fund three private crossing guards.
Valrico resident and mother of three Mulrennan students, Danielle Waymire spearheaded the fundraiser when one of her children was almost hit by car while walking to school.
“It got to the point where enough was enough,” said Waymire, who walks her children to school every day. “I couldn’t just watch cars regularly not yielding and children almost getting hit without doing something.”
Waymire approached the school, the school district and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office asking for crossing guards and continued to get the same answer.
“The bottom line is that there is no funding,” she said.
Her next step was to find a private crossing guard company and convince the school district to allow the guards if the school could pay them $13,000 for the remainder of the school year. In order to raise the money, the parents and school employees coordinated a dodgeball tournament with the help of a local business, Dodgeball 2 You.
It took less than two weeks for the crossing guards to take their places twice a day directing students and traffic.
“They have already made a huge difference,” said Mulrennan parent and Valrico resident Bridget Wilson. “It is amazing how much easier it is to get to the school, even as a driver. It is so much nicer to have the safety in place.”
Waymire and Wilson hope that they will not have to fundraise for the crossing guards again next year. The parents are working with Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White and Sheriff Chad Chronister to request funding for crossing guards at middle schools throughout the county. White added the issue to the agenda at a Board of County Commissioners meeting earlier this month and Waymire spoke on the issue to the board. They hope to get answers soon about funding for next year.
“We are so proud of our school and the fact that we were able to make this happen,” said Wilson. “But we are even happier that local politicians have noticed. We are hoping that by the next school year we won’t have to do this anymore.”
Mulrennan Middle School is located at 4215 Durant Rd. in Valrico and can be reached at 651-2100.