The TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security said 818 crashes were reported during the 2022-23 school year, with 82 occurring in Shelby County school zones.
SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — As thousands of Mid-South students head out the door for school, one Memphis mom is fed up with seeing drivers speed through the school zones.
Chloe Brewer is so upset that she has taken matters into her own hands.
“My concern is that it’s not going to be an issue until a kid loses their life, until a kid gets injured, until there’s a massive uproar…but why are we waiting?” Brewer said.
Now she stands on the side of the street, telling drivers to slow down.
Brewer said she does not have any plans to stop until school and city leaders fix the problem. She lives on Walnut Grove and is tired of the fast-paced traffic on her street during school pick-up and drop-off hours.
“I get a lot of looks,” Brewer expressed. “I don’t care why you’re looking, but when you’re looking, you’re slowing down.”
She was sitting out on her porch one morning and saw a group of students almost get hit by a vehicle while crossing the street to get to T-Stem Academy East High School. That is when she knew she had to step in.
“So much so…skid noises coming up over this blind hill,” Brewer said. “So, I started standing out here every morning. Once I did, I’m like, ‘slow down. I know you see it. It’s not small.'”
The speed limit is 35 mph, but during school drop-off and pick-up hours, it is 15 mph. Brewer told ABC24 that even though her 9-year-old son does not attend T-Stem Academy, as a parent, she has a responsibility to look out for students who pass by her house on a daily basis.
“I don’t want any child hurt, specifically mine if we’re being honest…but any child,” Brewer said. “I don’t want to see a stack of teddy bears over here as a vigil for an individual because of speeding. It could be my kid. It’s very easy to forget when you can’t relate, but I can relate. I’m a mom.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school zone crashes happen every single year.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security said 818 crashes were reported during the 2022-23 school year, and 82 of them were in school zones in Shelby County.
“I’ve lived here for two years,” Brewer said. “They just put this sign up a few weeks before school was to restart. I have never seen a crossing guard ever. I don’t know if it’s because of the age range of the school.”
She added that she has seen a Shelby County Sheriff’s deputy sit in the parking lot at the back of the school; however, she has never seen the deputy enforce the speed limit.
We have reached out to MSCS to ask if school leaders plan on hiring a school guard for the back of the school, and they responded with the following statement:
“Tennessee state law …requires crossing guards be managed by law enforcement…We remain in communication with our local law enforcement agencies to ensure that they provide officers to keep our walkers and carpoolers safe.”
We also reached out to the Memphis Police Department to see if they will add a school crossing guard to the area. We are waiting for their response.
Several positions are open on the city’s website.