ShareThis Page
Clairton students form ‘walking school buses’ to kick start safe schools program |

Clairton students form ‘walking school buses’ to kick start safe schools program

Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Clairton fifth-grader Kaniah Harper carries a 'walking school bus' sign along Seventh Street during a morning commute with fellow students, school staff and community volunteers on Tuesday morning.

Banding together to form neighborhood “walking school buses,” Clairton students kicked off Allegheny County’s Safe Routes to School program on their Tuesday morning commute.

As a walking district where students in kindergarten through 12th grade arrive at Clairton Education Center between 7:30 and 8 a.m., the county health department staff named the district the perfect place to emphasize safe travel.

“Students are already walking,” program coordinator Alysia Tucker of Allegheny County Health Department said. “We wanted to see how they’re getting to school and make sure they are taking the safest routes possible.”

Clairton City School District public relations specialist Alexis Trubiani said safety is the district’s top priority.

“Anything that can reinforce safety measures with our students is wonderful,” Trubiani said, thanking the health department, police, city council and parents for participating. “The students get to see that there are people in the community who are and want them to be safe.”

The program has health and wellness benefits, Tucker explained. While some families drive their children to school, she said a morning walk could start students’ day off on a healthy foot.

Liz Breegle joined her children, second-grader Ryan and third-grader Carmen, on a morning walk from their Wilson home. Neighborhood children and parents met district staff in Clairton Park and walked from there as a large group.

“It was a very good experience, because we got out and moving,” Breegle said. “But it was a challenge for my son because he has asthma.”

Despite any setbacks, Ryan and Carmen said the walk was enjoyable.

Fourth-grader Kitana Jamison, whose group walked from Neil C. Brown Stadium along Miller Avenue, said she was happy to walk with classmates because she normally makes the trek alone.

“I felt safe and I had people to talk to,” she said.

A third group for the city’s Century Townhomes complex and Terrace neighborhood met in the Dollar General parking lot.

After their walk, students received treat bags with healthy snacks. Parents were invited into the school for juice, coffee and doughnuts.

In coming months, the county will assign a traffic engineer to conduct a walking survey that will examine any need for infrastructure and non-infrastructure improvements to students’ routes. The study will consider sidewalks, road crossings and sight obstructions among potential concerns.

“Because Clairton students are primarily walkers, this type of program and study is important in identifying and correcting any problems,” Clairton police Chief Rob Hoffman said.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.