A Parkland Middle School sixth-grader who left campus during the National Student Walkout was killed when he was struck by a vehicle Friday morning on Loop 375 in Northeast El Paso, school district officials said.
The boy, who was 11 years old, was hit by a Ford F-150, which was traveling north on the loop, at about 10:30 a.m., officials said.
He was taken to an area hospital, where he died at about 11:30 a.m., officials said.
Ysleta Independent School District Superintendent Xavier De La Torre said the student killed was part of a group of about 12 to 15 students who used the National School Walkout as a way to leave Parkland Middle to go to a park.
All Parkland Middle School extracurricular activities Friday and over the weekend were canceled, De La Torre said.
Classes weren’t canceled, but a line of parents formed as they attempted to take their children out of school.
After the accident, the Ysleta Independent School District sent parents a voice message stating that the boy was a student at Parkland Middle School.
“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we inform you of the death of a Parkland Middle School student who left campus this morning and was struck by a vehicle on Loop 375,” YISD said.
The student was hit while crossing the highway during the walkout, but was not participating in the walkout, De La Torre said.
It was “a separate, isolated event of a group of students” who left the school as other students protested gun violence.
De La Torre added that the students who left with the boy are being questioned by law enforcement about why they left the school and how the accident happened.
Grief counselors are at the school to provide help for students and faculty dealing with the tragedy, De La Torre said.
The child’s name has not been released.
Students taking part in the walkout had gone out to the football field to congregate.
However, a group of students jumped a wall and left campus, then headed toward the highway, students said.
Eighth-grader Angela Rodriguez, 14, knew the sixth-grader who was killed from an orchestra class they shared.
“He was a free spirit. He was fun to be around, always lighting up the room,” she said, her eyes red from crying. “He played the violin. He was very good. He was one of the best ones in the class.”
The entire school is in shock and mourning, said eighth-grader Daniela Ramirez, 14.
“It’s sad. I didn’t know him, but it’s sad because we are from Parkland. We care about our students.”
“Inside (school), they’re crying. They don’t have nothing to say. The halls are empty. It’s messed up.”
De La Torre said school officials are trying to determine why the students left campus. “Many students do not know why they walked out,” De La Torre said.
He said staff was posted at the front and back of the school, but the six-grader and the students with him left by a side.
The accident occurred on Loop 375 North near Bormac Street, El Paso police said via Twitter. The boy was taken to University Medical Center of El Paso.
Parkland Middle School and Parkland High School are located on opposite sides of the highway.
The highway remained closed early Friday afternoon as the police traffic investigators worked at the scene.
(c)2018 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)
Visit the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas) at www.elpasotimes.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.