SAN ANTONIO – As parents picked up their children Thursday afternoon from Eisenhower Middle School, it seemed like any other day, except it had started much differently and tragically.
Mailani Godin, 12, was killed on her way to school at about 7 a.m. after being hit by a car. Police said the sixth-grader was in the crosswalk, but was crossing against the light.
“Sad for her family," said Stephen Cruz as he waited for his three kids outside the school. "She was going to school and they’re never going to see her again.”
North East Independent School District spokeswoman Aubry Chancellor said Mailani's teachers described her as energetic and positive and someone who was helpful to whomever might need it. She played flute in the school band.
Juliet Cisneros, an Eisenhower Middle School student, said it was a quiet day in school
“There was not really a lot of people talking," she said. "You could see people walking and after they got out of class they were crying."
A team of counselors were on hand at the school to speak with students and staff. Chancellor said they will be there Friday and possibly longer, if needed.
"Obviously this is shocking information," Chancellor said. "It’s hard for an adult to deal with and process something like this, much less a young child."
Of the roughly 1,100 students at Eisenhower, Chancellor said about 600 students live within 2 miles and are not eligible to be picked up by bus. She said the district estimates about 300 students walk to school.
Other students are able to get a ride.
“There are several kids that are driven to school, but I know that there are several that can’t," said Margaret Workman, who was picking up her son.
“You never know when something bad like this is going to happen," Cruz said. "So you’ve gotta kind of, you know, you’re always worried when it’s your kids."
Stories like Mailani's can make parents think of their own children.
“The safety of our children come first, said Antione Billie, who was waiting for his daughter. "When you hear something that tragic. You know it doesn’t leave a pretty good feeling in your stomach. It’s unfortunate that that happened. You know. It’s just sad."
San Antonio City Councilman Joe Krier released a statement following the tragedy, referencing another young student who was killed while walking to school a little more two years ago.
“A little more than two years ago, 9-year-old Tatyana Babineaux was also struck and killed on her way to school," the statement said. "That was on Braesview, not far from West Avenue and Mount Tipton, where Mailani was struck. I vowed then to press the City to make school zone crossings safer for our children, and we’ve made good progress. In District 9, the City has made improvements to 94 school zone crossings since the accident that took the life of Tatyana."
While Krier says it doesn't appear Thursday morning's fatality had anything to do with the crosswalk being unsafe, he pledged to continue to push for safe school zone crosswalks.