By Melissa Wharton
Watch out for pedestrians on the morning commute this Wednesday, October 4, because Kansas City Public Schools will be participating in International Walk to School Day.
“They’ll walk in what we call walking school buses,” spokesman Ray Weikal said. “The idea is that there are pre-designated points where students, parents, volunteers and staff members will gather within walking distance from school, and the responsible adults kind of form that group up into a column and they walk together down through the neighborhood.”
Walk to School Day started in Chicago in 1997, and is now recognized by more than 40 countries.
“It’s an initiative to promote healthy lifestyles, healthy neighborhoods, and safety in one event,” Weikel said. “It also promotes getting the community and schools engaged with each other. There’s a lot of benefits that the event has. Anytime you can get kids and parents and school staff together, you’re promoting attendance, health, safety, and you’re getting that community more engaged with its neighborhood schools.”
So far, six KCPS schools have announced that they’ll be taking part in the day, including the Northeast’s own James Elementary School. In the case of James Elementary, they’ll be flipping the tables and walking the kids home instead.
“This is partly because a significant majority of their kids walk to school in the morning already,” Weikal said. “They found it’s a more unique experience for the kids to form the walking school buses on the way home. The staff will walk with the kids and drop them off at home.”