Following death of Barrington High student, District 220 plans more safety education

  A Metra train passes the Hough Street rail crossing in downtown Barrington. A Barrington High School student was killed at the crossing Jan. 25 when she was struck by a train while walking to school. Brian Hill/

Barrington Unit School District 220 will provide more train and pedestrian safety education, Superintendent Craig Winkelman said Tuesday in comments about the death of a student killed when she was struck by a train while walking to school.

Winkelman also expressed support for the family of Marin Lacson, the 17-year-old Barrington High School junior who died in the Jan. 25 accident.

“There are no words to adequately describe the loss that our community has experienced or the grief that we are all processing,” he said during the District 220 school board meeting Tuesday night.

The school district implemented “an educational component” at railroad crossings in the village this week, Winkelman said. That included materials describing safe crossing tips being handed out at pedestrian crossings.

“This component will be in place over several days, so that we have a chance to interact with our students throughout those morning arrival times,” he said.

Winkelman, Assistant Superintendent Josh Carpenter and Director of Safety and Security Austin Johnson met earlier Tuesday with railroad safety officers from Metra and Union Pacific at the Hough Street crossing where Marin was killed.

The group discussed partnering to present student assemblies about safe crossing at all district schools.

“Those assemblies will occur over the next several weeks,” he added.

District 220 also will review its practices and identify additional opportunities to teach rail safety, including through the Safety Town program for children.

Winkelman expressed gratitude for community members and others who reached out with ideas on ways to improve safety and thanked the clinicians, counselors, social workers, teachers and others who offered students comfort on Jan. 25. They will continue to be available to students in the weekend ahead, he said.

“The grieving process takes time, and it involves stages as individuals express their grief in different ways,” he said.

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