Community mourns loss of kindergarten teacher killed during crossing guard duty

The Neosho, Mo., community is mourning the loss of Angel Hayes, a kindergarten teacher. (Photo: Neosho School District via Facebook)

Colleagues of Angel Hayes remember her passion for teaching and how, through her 25-year career, her kindergarten classroom was always a haven.

“Angel was always searching for new and best practices, she never stopped learning. … She was the most selfless co-worker,” one teacher said. Another peer added, “Angel was the perfect name for her.”

But on Sept. 5, while Hayes was on crossing guard duty at her school, Benton Elementary, the 48-year-old educator was struck by an SUV. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Neosho, Mo., is now a community in mourning.

According to Neosho Police Chief David Kennedy, an 88-year-old man was picking up his 12-year-old granddaughter when his foot became stuck between the brake and accelerator. Hayes, who was directing traffic, was hit by the SUV, which continued forward until it hit another vehicle, according to Kennedy. The investigation is ongoing.

Superintendent Jim Cummins, through Neosho School District’s Facebook page, wrote about Hayes, who had been teaching in the district for 19 years: “When she wasn’t at school, Ms. Hayes spent her time with her family and friends. She was a woman of strong faith who poured herself into her church and community. Her co-teachers remember her as a ‘jack of all trades,’ caring for any person, animal, or situation that crossed her path.”

He went on to say: “Yesterday was one of those days school administrators pray they will never have to face. Teachers not only teach together, they attend church together, spend time with each other’s families, and raise their own children together. This loss will be felt just as the loss of a family member.”

Many shared their condolences on Facebook, for Hayes, her students, and her family.

Hayes is survived by her mother, her son, five brothers, two sisters, and her nieces and nephews. Her family asks that contributions in her memory be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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