Vinton community joins pedestrian students with lesson in safety

<div class="Content"><p class="indent">Vinton Elementary School celebrated “International Walk to School Day” on Wednesday morning with a community walk from the police station to the elementary school.</p><p class="indent">With the help of the Vinton Police Department and Fire Department, crossing guards, parents and other community members, and approximately 100 students walked together in commemoration of the special day.</p><p class="indent">Since 1997 schools around the world recognize “International Walk to School Day” as an effort to remind students and community members of the necessity of walking and driving with caution and also as a way to recognize the benefits of physical activity.</p><p class="indent">Homer Williams, VES physical education coach, coordinated the community event as a hands-on culmination for his safety unit. “It was important to show the kids the safe routes to get to and from school … Like using the sidewalks to avoid accidents, it helps ensure their safety and public safety.”</p><p class="indent">VES Principal Lori Young said recognizing the presence of pedestrians is a special priority for her school community. “The logistics of our school is what makes this important. Our campus is really right in the middle of residential areas so we have a lot of pedestrian students — at least a third.”</p><p class="indent">Lieutenant Scott Spell of the Vinton Police Department said historically the community does not have any major issues with pedestrians and traffic, however, the increasing presence technology is causing both students and drivers to be more distracted.</p><p class="indent">“The main thing now is to be aware of their surroundings. They have so much going on between cell phones and other things that they don’t pay attention to what they’re doing as far as crossing the street or walking down the sidewalk.” Spell added that students and drivers alike need to have their “heads up and not buried” in a phone in order ensure safe travels.</p><p class="indent">Mayor Kenneth Stinson was present for the morning’s event and issued an official city proclamation declaring Oct. 17, 2018 “International Walk to School Day” in Vinton. Because of the city’s high population of student pedestrians, Stinson said the city recently applied for a “Safe Routes to Public Places” grant to build new sidewalks in the community. If awarded, Stinson said the city will create new sidewalks “behind the elementary school, up the side of the middle school and then extend into the neighborhoods of Eddy Street, East Street and Industrial Street.”</p></div>

<strong>Students and drivers alike need to have their ‘heads up and not buried’ in a phone in order to ensure safe travels.</strong>

<strong>Lt. Scott Spell</strong>

Vinton Police Department

””<p>Lieutenant Scott Spell of the Vinton Police Department leads the ways as Vinton Elementary School students celebrate "International Walk to School Day" on Wednesday morning.</p>MarlisaHardingEducation Reporter