Archive for Saturday, October 1, 2011

Grant to help second-graders learn pedestrian safety

October 1, 2011


High school students will be recruited to help Douglas County second-graders understand how to safely walk, cross, run and play in areas where cars and trucks rule the road.

The older students will be trained next spring in how to conduct safety meetings with second-graders at elementary schools throughout the county during the following school year. The program is being organized by the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Partnership and the Safe Kids Douglas County Coalition, using a $9,366 grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The goal: Help children understand ways to walk safely to and from school, learning such lessons as looking “left, right, left” before stepping off a curb and also making eye contact with a driver before walking in front of a stopped vehicle.

Walking to school can encourage children to spend more time outdoors, which in turn can help battle problems related to childhood obesity and other issues, said Janelle Martin, executive director for the partnership.

“We’ve become a more sedentary society,” Martin said. “Any way we can support and encourage kids to have fun being outside and being physically active, that will benefit everybody.

“We want them to be outside and be active, but we want them to be safe doing it.”

The script to be used during presentations is still being developed, and soon program officials will be seeking out students attending Free State, Lawrence and Eudora high schools for training. The students, then, would be prepared to meet next fall with second-graders in public and private schools in the Lawrence and Eudora districts.

The program is starting with second-graders, Martin said, because those students typically are at an age when parents start to consider allowing them to walk short distances on their own, and because second-graders generally are able to retain such information.

Second-graders taking part in presentations would leave with reflectors for their backpacks and an activity book, plus information to be taken home and shared with parents or guardians.

The educational project was among 21 approved for financing through the Kansas Safe Routes to School Program, administrated by the Kansas Department of Transportation. The projects — ranging from the local educational project to others involving installation of sidewalks, pavement markings and signs elsewhere in the state — will share $3.6 million in grant funds provided by the federal government.


del888 6 years, 8 months ago

My thoughts exactly. Maybe the parents should get off the couch and take the children outside so they can learn how to read a traffic light. I can't believe we are wasting grant money for something like this.

been_there 6 years, 8 months ago

We already have someone out there teaching them pedestrian safety. They're called "crossing guards". Only problem is a lot of parents don't make the kids listen to or do what the crossing guard tells them.

John Kyle 6 years, 8 months ago

Contrary to the nay sayers here, I think it sounds like a good idea. The 2nd graders could then go to the campus and teach the ku students how to look both ways before stepping into the street.

tomatogrower 6 years, 8 months ago

This is a good idea. Even good parents could use the reinforcement from other adults. When I was in school we always had a bicycle safety assembly every year, replaced by a driving safety assembly every year in high school. That's why when I ride a bike I use hand signals, and don't act like I am a pedestrian. In a car I actually use my turn signals when changing lanes and follow the speed limit. The only accident I've ever caused was backing into a neighbors car (really embarrassing that one). If you drill something into their heads year after year, they finally get it. Of course, the so called libertarians would consider that "indoctrination". How dare they brainwash them into thinking they have to follow safety rules?

been_there 6 years, 8 months ago

Maybe it's not about teaching the second graders but really teaching the highschool students who probably need it just as much.

Lawrence Morgan 6 years, 8 months ago

Yes, it's a great idea. Parenting needs help today, when many parents take more than one job just to make ends meet.

But I've wondered. Why doesn't the city of Lawrence install the LED traffic lights in the pavement which crosses the road, and come on when people want to walk across the street? I've seen these in many other states. They would be so helpful in many areas, including Sixth Street, Iowa Street and downtown. There are signs that are lit when the LEDs are on, and it makes a very clear display when someone wants to cross the street.

Or maybe I just haven't seen them myself in Lawrence.

Sunny Parker 6 years, 8 months ago

Spending other peoples money is always a great idea to the libs! Be responsible and take care of your children and teach them 'pedestrian safety'! Good god...what's next!

weeslicket 6 years, 8 months ago

you do realize that you live in kansas, right? from the article: "... using a $9,366 grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation."

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