Families Turn Out for Walk to School Day

Photo by Robin GOLDSWORTHY
Sgt. Dan Suttles of the Glendale Police Dept. watches over students on their way to Lincoln Elementary School during Walk to School Day yesterday.


Walktober is a time when schools focus on the health benefits, for both humans and the environment, of walking to school.

Although the entire month of October is focused on walking, on Wednesday morning schools highlighted the importance of walking to school by organizing places for kids to meet and walk together. Children across the Glendale Unified School District joined fellow students around the nation in walking to school.

Administrators from GUSD and Monte Vista Elementary Principal Suzanne Risse joined over 50 kids and parents at Two Strike Park then walked down the hill to school.

“Remember, we stay on the sidewalk,” Risse reminded her students before they began the walk. “What do we do when we are coming to a driveway?”

“Look both ways,” answered a student.

Principal Karen Stegman and students prepare to walk

After the safety talk, the kids began, all very happy to be walking with their friends and parents.

Rosemont Middle School students had walked the same path a short while before the elementary school kids. They, too, were all smiles as they enjoyed the short walk to school.

The experience was also a good time for drivers, including parents, to remember to drive safely. A recent incident that occurred at a local school has several parents talking about how dangerous the roads can be, even the drop-off lanes at schools.

As she had done many times in the past, a mom was volunteering at a drop-off lane at a local elementary school. A vehicle driven by another mother pulled up to the lane. Her child began to get out of the vehicle. The driver then handed the volunteer the child’s backpack. The volunteer mom leaned in and was getting the backpack when the driver continued to pull forward, rolling over the volunteer’s foot.

“I told her three times that she had run over my foot and should not have pulled forward like that in the car line drop-off while I was standing there,” said the volunteer mom.

The driver continued to move forward in the line with the car door still open. The volunteer mom told her she had run over her foot. She reportedly said “Sorry” and continued to move forward in the line. With her car door still open, she dropped off her child and moved toward the exit of the lane.

The volunteer could still walk, although the pain was increasing. She returned to the mom’s vehicle and handed the backpack to the child then shut the vehicle’s door.

“That’s when I told her again she had run over my foot with her car, but rather than pulling over or parking and coming back to give [me] her information and make sure I was okay, she just went on her way,” the volunteer said.

The volunteer had a friend drive her to an emergency room at a nearby hospital, missing a day of work. The foot was not broken but badly bruised. The volunteer did not want her name used in this article because she did not want to cause any issues with her children who attend the school. She said she thought about reporting the incident to the California Highway Patrol because what happened was a serious issue. What the driver mom actually did would be considered hit and run, and the volunteer did not want the mother to go through that legal problem.

“I just thought [by telling my story] it would help remind everyone to be super-aware during drop-off and pick-up at our local schools,” she said.

This is not the only issue of drivers in the Crescenta Valley area not giving themselves enough time to get their children to school or who drive distracted or angry. Parents have contacted CVW concerned about the growing road rage issues at Rosemont Middle School that, they feel, is due to the construction on Foothill Boulevard. Several parents shared stories of drivers cutting them off as they traveled on Rosemont Avenue, of drivers traveling north on Rosemont turning left during school hours in front of a sign restricting turns from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and others who have seen examples of road rage from drivers.

Recently CVW was with CV Town Council President Harry Leon, Councilmember Desiree Rabinov, Rosemont Asst. Principal Narineh Hakopian and parents at a crosswalk on Briggs Avenue at Los Amigos Street. The parents would like LA County Public Works to consider having a crossing guard at the crosswalk. While at the location for one hour one day, the group witnessed several close calls between vehicles and students walking to school. Some drivers appeared to be driving too fast to stop while traveling southbound down Briggs Avenue, while others appeared to be distracted.

CHP and Glendale police have officers in several areas of Crescenta Valley but cannot be at all schools at all times.

So, as Walktober encourages students to walk to school, it is also a time to remind those who do not walk and instead drive their child to school or who are on their way to work to not be distracted while driving, to allow enough time to drop a child off and to remember to slow down.