Taking steps for safety

Irma Lemus

MEDIA DISTRICT WEST -- Even family pets got into the spirit of

International Walk To School Day as Robert L. Stevenson Elementary School

students, their parents and more than a few dogs used their feet and paws

to promote pedestrian safety.

The event brought out about 300 Stevenson students and their parents

Wednesday morning, Stevenson Principal Paula Willebrands said. This was

the second year Stevenson has participated, she said.

Created in Chicago in 1997, Walk to School Day has quickly spread

throughout the country, as well as to Canada and other parts of the

world, organizers said. The goal is to increase pedestrian awareness and

promote student safety.

At the end of the walk, banners, balloons and goodies donated by local

retailers awaited the walkers.

"It wasn't just fun. It was also really good for the parents because

they got to see the route their child takes to school," Willebrands said.

Bringing attention to potential dangers for children is what the day

is about, said Colleen Wright, PTA Safety & Welfare chairwoman and a

coordinator of the event.

"Parents have a checklist. As they walk they notice problems, making

sure that it's safe for the kids to walk," she said.

Wright said that once all the surveys are returned, school officials

look for problems and work with police and other city officials to solve

them.

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