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Nonprofit to install bench at Lehigh Acres bus stop after students spotted in roadway

Posted at 6:19 PM, Oct 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 19:15:10-04

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — Fox 4 spotted two students sitting in the roadway as they waited for their school bus on 8 St SW and Yvonne Avenue Monday morning.

James Barnham, director of the nonprofit Shield 4 Kids offered to install a bench at the bus stop this weekend.

“It’s real important to have the benches so that the children don’t have to be sitting in the street, be standing in the street, be playing in the street,” he said.

He added he’ll do whatever he can to prevent another tragedy like the death of 12-year-old Alana Tamplin, who died while walking to school in North Fort Myers in January.

And then Monday morning — yet another student got hit by a car in Lehigh Acres. Thankfully, it was not deadly.

That student who got struck on 8 St and Xelda Avenue did not attend Lee County Schools, but the district’s board chairman Gwynetta Gittens said it’s important for everyone to pitch in to prevent more cases like Tamplin and 8-year-old Layla Aiken.

“It’s going to take people going by, and stopping, and saying, no, you need to get out of the road,” she said. “We always look at we need sidewalks, and yes, we do. We also need education. Not only the students, the parents, but the citizens of the area as well.”

Branham and his organization have been one of the voices behind the push for more benches at bus stops. He explains there is still room for the effort to grow.

“Anyone walking alone, child, adult, they should always walk against the traffic. Especially in early mornings. Have light clothes on, or something that’s reflective,” said Branham.

He added a bench will be at that Lehigh bus stop as soon as this weekend, but the solution does not end there.