BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Students around the world put their walking shoes on Wednesday to promote physical and mental health.
What You Need To Know
- Brevard County students participated in Walk to School Day
- The goal is to raise awareness about safer routes as students make their way to school
- Space Coast TPO says only 6% of Brevard County students walk to school
The goal is to make streets safer as they make their way to school, which is why some parents prefer to drive them.
Palm Bay Elementary student Olivia Mohammed was packing up and getting ready for a productive school day. But first, she's had to put one foot in front of the other.
Olivia is one of the hundreds of Brevard County students who participated in International Walk to School Day.
"It's important because you get the exercise you need in the morning, it helps wake you up," Olivia said.
The event puts the spotlight on creating safer routes for children walking to class, getting more physical activity, and building connections between families, schools and the community.
"It's a great way to start the morning, get some exercise, get the oxygen flowing so they are ready to learn," said Barbi Miller of Palm Bay Elementary School.
A survey from the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization says only 6% of Brevard County students walk to school. Stats also show that 58% are driven in personal vehicles, and most live within the 2-mile walk zone and aren't eligible for bus rides.
That many vehicles can cause traffic congestion, especially around dismissal time.
Parents like Dixie Farley said the school bus driver shortage swayed her decision to start driving her kindergartener to school.
"I want to make sure her attendance is on point —I don't want her to miss school," Farley said. "We were getting notified there was a bus issue, also her coming home there was always a bus issue. It just was easier."
Other parents said it's too far for their child to walk. And they don't feel safe nowadays letting them walk to school.
Olivia, though, wants to keep up the pace.
"It was good, it made me feel refreshed and more outgoing," she said.
Brevard Public Schools and Space Coast TPO partnered for this year's walk and 23 local schools participated.