BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Parents, teachers, administration, faculty and staff at certain schools nationwide all took time out to walk children to school on Tuesday morning.
The event is part of International Walk to School Day, a global event celebrated each October. It started in 1997 to promote safety.
Over 40 nations worldwide participate as well as schools in all 50 states and U.S. territories such as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Although kids mostly walk, riding bikes to school is also part of the event.
Learning while walking
Palm Terrace Elementary in Daytona Beach was one of the local schools that participated.
“This is a designated day for the event. It’s all about pedestrian safety. It’s about how to walk to school, how to stay on the sidewalk, how to watch for traffic, to walk with a partner, They’ve highlighted this in P.E. (physical education), then we did it as a school today,” said Palm Terrace Elementary Principal Tucker Harris.
Palm Terrace has a high number of students who walk to school. The school is also located on a busy street.
“We have a lot of walkers so we wanted to highlight that and teach safety. It’s nice to actually have us out and walking with them. We try to teach basics like crossing the crosswalk,’’ Harris explained
“Some kids dart across the street. We are trying to teach them how to strategically navigate while walking the school. It’s a lot of traffic in this area. Also, by us walking in a large group can help shine some light on safety.”
Jacarri Shropshire is shown with his 11-year- old daughter, Caliese.
The route taken started at the corner of Dunn Avenue and Bill France Boulevard, then went straight down Dunn Avenue into the school, which is located at 1825 Dunn Ave.
Parents were glad to participate in the endeavor with their children.
Jacarri Shropshire walked his 11 year-old daughter, Caliese Shropshire, who attends the fifth grade and is a safety patrol at the school.
Mr. Shropshire told the Daytona Times, “This is something good to do. Events like this allow parents to be involved with our kids and their schooling. It also helps us in motivating the kids to get up and go to school and to be positive.”
Misessence Cross was walking with her three children. Her sons, Lejten Caldwell, 11, and Lejandre Housey attend fourth grade and kindergarten, respectively. Her daughter, Lejauri Housey 7, is in the first grade.
“My kids wanted to try this, so we did it. I try to be an active parent and involved in all they do. It’s good that the teachers, administration, staff and parents are out here with the students,’’ Cross said.
Palm Terrace is located at 1825 Dunn Ave., Daytona Beach.
Keeping them safe
Dr. Latashia Brinson, a teacher at the school, also stressed pedestrian safety.
“It’s awesome to walk the kids into the school along with the community. It’s good to teach the kids about safety,” she said.
Getting people more aware of such safety is another goal.
“It’s good to walk the kids to school. This is a busy street with a lot of traffic flow. It’s nice if drivers just slow down and respect school zones,” said Officer Libby Daniel of the Daytona Beach Police Department. Daniel is the school resource officer at Palm Terrace.
The parents also like the idea of keeping the kids safe.
“Walking with the kids is way safer than letting them walk alone. Usually when I’m driving my kids to school, I see a lot of kids on the side of the road running around and horsing around in the grass. Today since we’re walking them, you don’t see any kids doing that,” said Cross.
Shropshire added, “Yes this is much better and safer. It also makes people driving by slow down or stop and take better consideration for the kids who are walking to school safety.”
Following the event, the participants were treated to doughnuts and orange juice.