International Walk To School Day
WJXT Channel 4 covered several stories recently related to students
walking to school and the hazards that this may present to students and
their safety. The concerns of parents are the ever present possibility of
child abductions, traffic hazards, children getting lost and other concerns
when children walk to school. No matter the distance there are dangers
for children even when walking in their neighborhoods.
Andrew Robinson Elementary School’s Physical Education teacher
William Jackson and the partnership with Shands Jacksonville Pediatric
Emergency Department through the efforts of Nurse Gretta Langley with
Shands Hospital worked together to bring “International Walk To School
Day” to students and parents.
Nurse Langley with the help of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department,
Trauma One Helicopter, the Jacksonville Suns Mascot “Southpaw”
Jacksonville Fire and Rescue, a special visit by Dr. Donnie Horner,
Education Commissioner with the Mayor’s Office introduced the
“International Walk to School Day” to Andrew Robinson Elementary
students with exuberance and excitement.
WJXT Channel 4 is covering “International Walk to School Day”
in Jacksonville as thousands of students, parents and communities
representing more than 3,200 schools across America celebrated
the act of walking and bicycling to school.
Started by the nonprofit Alliance for a Healthier Generation the
group is encouraging kids to walk or bike to school every day and the
benefits of walking to school: 1. Increased physical activity
2. Cuts down on air pollution and traffic congestion
3. Provides opportunities for family time together
4. Opportunities for parents to talk about their children’s day at school.
During the assembly Coach Jackson and Nurse Langley talked to the students
about the proper way to cross the street. The importance of walking with a group,
looking right, left then right again before crossing the street and not running into
the street. Pedestrians have laws they need to abide by, but students have to be
educated and practice to be safe. Recent national traffic statistics on pedestrian
traffic has shown that Jacksonville has a higher rate of pedestrian injuries and
fatalities. Children are particularly vulnerable because of their perceptions of
distance, rate of car speed, depth perception and lack of knowledge of laws.
Parents are encouraged to reinforce walking safety and how to safely cross
streets. Reinforcing these statements where Chief Moreland and Chief Downer
of Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.
At the conclusion of the assembly the Andrew Robinson Elementary student
body practiced what was taught by walking through the neighborhood. Escorted
by Jacksonville Sheriffs Officer, Officer Cummings who has made several safety
presentations at ARE, staff, teachers and parent volunteers the students excitedly
and orderly circled the neighborhood practicing new skills.
Upon conclusion of the walk students were treated to entertainment by Southpaw,
mascot of the Jacksonville Suns Baseball team, tour of Trauma One Helicopter
and JFRD fire trucks and emergency vehicles. Students received book bags
containing items to remind them of always being safe when walking to and
from school and in their neighborhoods.
A BIG THANK YOU to The Shands Jacksonville Pediatric Emergency Department
Nurses for judging the poster contest and to Papa John’s Pizza for providing the
pizzas for the party for the winning poster of each class.
To access pictures go to: http://photobucket.com/walktoschoolday
Official International Walk To School Web site
News 4 Jax
The Dangers of Kids Walking To School
Walking To School Dangers
By William Jackson, M.Ed.
Physical Education Teacher
Andrew Robinson Elementary School