Tragic. And Preventable.
From Daily Mail: An 11-year-old boy was killed after he participated in a school walkout to protest gun violence and was hit by a car.
Police say Jonathan Benko was with other students from Parkland Middle School in El Paso, Texas, when they left the designated walkout area Friday morning. The students attempted to cross a busy highway when Benko, who was at the back of the pack, got struck by a Ford F150 truck.
Benko sustained critical injuries from the hit and was taken to the University Medical Center Emergency Department in El Paso where he died.
Ysleta Independent School District Superintendent Xavier De La Torre said Benko was one among 12 to 15 students who used the National School Walkout as an opportunity to leave the middle school to go to the park, the El Paso Times reported.
The school district sent parents a voicemail after the accident to inform them that it was a student from 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,’ the voicemail said.
A memorial fund for the family has been set up by the University Medical Center Foundation after Benko died.
The student’s mother, Ashley, reportedly works as a registered nurse at the UMC’s Emergency Department and his uncle, Michael Benko, works as a respiratory therapist.
‘All of us at UMC are heartbroken by the loss of a child belonging to one of our Associates, especially a child as young as Jonathan,’ said Jacob Cintron, UMC President & CEO.
‘As a father, I can only imagine how hard this must be for Ashley and her family. She is also one of our family at UMC. Our support, thoughts and prayers are with her and her family throughout this difficult time.’