“Walk-tober” is International Walk to School Month. This October global campaign’s goal is for students to get to class without getting in a car.
The Walk to School initiative started in the United Kingdom in the late 1990s and takes place in more than 40 countries. The Beverly Hills Unified School District joined the campaign in 2007 with support from the PTAs. City schools are encouraging participation, but many kids are already on board.
“On any given day, you’ll see 30 to 35 bikes and scooters,” Horace Mann PTA President Howard Goldstein said. “Most of our community walks to school—about 85 percent—based on the small number of vehicles dropping off on any given day.”
Beverly Vista crossing guard Dean Hobbs said he has noticed that more and more students are walking and biking to school these days.
“Getting exercise is one of the best reasons to walk,” Hobbs said. “Just leave a few minutes early so you’re not late.”
BHUSD Superintendent Dr. Gary Woods is an avid cyclist and sets a healthy, car-free example by biking instead of driving.
“My bike is becoming a fixture of my Friday visits,” Woods said. “Kids see me riding and ask me about it.”
But the district doesn’t stop supporting eco-friendly trips to school when October is finished. During the academic year it promotes Walk to School Wednesdays, which coincide with the district’s late-start days.
What’s the cost of getting kids to walk? Nada. Walking keeps your kids active and is a healthy way to fight childhood obesity (and yours too, when you walk along). It reduces traffic, saves gas and is good for the environment. Walking is eco-smart and takes everybody in the right direction.