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International Walk to School Day Highlights Safety Concerns for Students


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By Kevin O’Rourke

As students and parents around Germantown and the world observe International Walk to School Day, the reality of a congested and hurried life in the 21st Century reveals that there are dangers even in something as simple as walking to school.

Yesterday, two students were struck by a vehicle while crossing Clopper Road at the corner of Kingview Road as they walked to Kingsview Middle School. Luckily the two girls received only minor injuries are doing well, according to Kingsview Principal Jimmy D’Andrea who was at the intersection this morning ensuring that all walkers were safe as they came to school.

The incident, coming on the eve of International Walk to School Day, spotlights the need for drivers and pedestrians to make sure they are alert and focused on their way to school and work.

The students being struck yesterday drew the attention of Montgomery County Council President Craig Rice, who resides in the neighborhood surrounding Kingsview Middle School. Rice was at Kingsview Wednesday morning to support the local students as they walked to school and urge drivers and pedestrians to be more mindful of their surroundings.

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“We cannot say this loud enough, or often enough, but when young bodies meet moving vehicles, the young bodies always lose,” said Rice. “Protecting our children carries responsibility on both sides. Students must discard all distractions when they are walking and spend all of their concentration on the vehicles around them. And drivers, even when they are following traffic laws, must anticipate that young students too often are distracted, so they must pay extra attention when driving around schools.”

On Sept. 17, members of the County Council and Montgomery County Department of Transportation, in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools gathered at Seneca Valley High School to launch the #YOLOwalksafe program to raise awareness among teenagers of the risks of distracted walking and other dangerous pedestrian behaviors.