TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - For Hillsborough County Middle Schools, crossing guards were once a luxury that simply didn't exist. It was a problem that was putting students' lives in jeopardy.
"Traffic just wasn't stopping, students were playing frogger to cross the street," said Danielle Waymire, a concerned parent at Mulrennan Middle School in Valrico.
With concerns mounting, some parents decided to take the issue into their own hands.
"We had three crossing guards out here that we fundraised," said Waymire. "We ended up raising $14,000. It cost us that to pay for the crossing guards for the rest of the school year."
Their drastic measures caused the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to take notice and make a change. Earlier this year, they announced they would be implementing a crossing guard program for middle schools across the county.
"I don't think there's anyone that would argue that a child walking to and from school should be anything but safe, so we're just taking the steps to make sure they are," said Amanda Granit with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
This week, HCSO released a list of over two dozen middle schools that will now have crossing guards at their crosswalks. The sheriff's office calls it the first wave of changes with more to come over the next three years.
"We did a study of cars going through the area and students in the area, how many walkers would be going to school- things like that to determine the priority of which schools and which schools would qualify for crossing guards," said Granit.
For parents like Waymire, it's a sigh of relief.
"A lot of tragic accidents that could have occurred, will definitely be prevented," said Waymire. "I think it's a big step in keeping our kids safe."
Waymire said the safety of those kids is now in the hands of those on the roads.
"I can't say it enough, that it's our drivers, they got to slow down in our school zones," stated Waymire.
HCSO hopes to fill 78 crossing guard positions by the start of the school year.
LINK: If you are interested in applying, click here to be redirected to HCSO's website.