District-backed plan will give students chaperoned walks to Lincoln, Dunwiddie and Thomas Jefferson schools
Plans for a walking school bus — scheduled, chaperoned walks to Lincoln and Dunwiddie elementary schools and Thomas Jefferson Middle School each morning — are being developed to help students safely get to school each day.
“We don’t expect hundreds of kids to be walking to school the first day,” organizer Derek Strohl said, noting only one of the four routes planned for the year is expected to be operating when classes start Sept. 3.
“We’re counting on this to catch on.”
A walking school bus is essentially a planned and scheduled walk to school each day. At least one adult chaperone walks the route with students, beginning at the same time each day and collecting youngsters at set stops along the way.
The group will arrive at school at least five minutes before the bell rings in the morning.
“It functions just like a bus,” Strohl said. “We expect to pickup kids at every stop. We’ll probably create a stop at just about every street corner.”
Four routes have been identified for this year, he said, and more will be added as the need is identified and chaperones found.
Routes for bikers could also be added, Strohl said.
The walking school buses will run in rain and snow, but not when there are high winds, thunderstorms or extreme cold, he said.
The chaperones will undergo a background check by the Port-Saukville School District, Strohl said.
The walking school bus isn’t a new initiative, Strohl said.
“A lot of these are popping up across the state and the country,” he said, including Greenfield, Richland Center and the Appleton area.
The walking school bus will help ease the fears of parents who are wary of allowing their youngsters to walk to school alone, Strohl said.
“Parents are sometimes nervous about their kids walking to school,” he said. These fears range from the possibility of accidents and kidnapping to the fact youngsters sometimes dawdle and could get to school late.
Strohl, who last fall proposed a similar initiative for Dunwiddie Elementary School, said that the project has gained traction since that time.
The city’s Environmental Committee has endorsed the idea, as has the school district, he said, noting the initiative aims to reduce traffic congestion around schools as well as reduce people’s dependence on fossil fuels.
It will also increase the amount of exercise students get and help them get to know one another.
Chaperones are still needed for the walking school buses, Strohl said.
An informational meeting about the walking school bus program will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Niederkorn Library.
Information will also be posted on the School District website, Strohl said, adding people may also call him at (262) 384-1951 or e-mail at