Tomorrow is officially Walk to School Day. Well at least it is in San Mateo and Burlingame - the city of Hillsborough declined a request made by Safe Paths of Hillsborough to proclaim Oct. 4 walk to school day.
Adrienne Leigh of Safe Paths said the city as well as the district were uncooperative in supporting the day. "We asked the district to help by running a notice in the newsletter but they declined," Leigh said. "They were the only district in California to decline a request to honor walk to school day."
The district argues that it is a voluntary activity and they do not need to endorse it.
Leigh said it seems that the school would rather not have children walk to school than provide a safe environment.
"We were very surprised they wouldn't support it, especially because it is being promoted by the California Department of Health," Leigh said.
Regardless, community members all around the county are planning for a successful day. Leigh said 15 students and their parents are meeting at her house tomorrow to form a "walking school bus." "We will go house to house and pick up everyone on our block," she said.
Leigh said the main objective of the day is to promote awareness that neighborhoods have become unsafe due to increased traffic and children cannot walk to school safely.
According to Leigh, there are 275 students at Hillsborough and 40 percent of them live within one-half of a mile of the school.
Leigh said even though Hillsborough is one of the safest cities in terms of crime, it is not really safe for children.
As reported in the Daily Journal last week, San Mateo county ranked as the fifth most dangerous county in the state for pedestrians.
"It is also a good time for parents to spend quality time with their kids, it gets the kids ready to learn, it gets their blood flowing," Leigh said.
Leigh walks her children to school everyday in order to avoid the traffic around the school. The district canceled all school busses in 1995 and there are no crossing guards. Leigh said the school also does not offer before or after school care, so everyone arrives at the same time.
"We are hoping to draw attention to this problem in all the communities," Leigh said. "We are hoping for more walkways and for a better awareness from the district."