Walking school bus program launched at Springfield school - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Walking school bus program launched at Springfield school

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Students alongside teachers, faculty and law enforcement officials formed a walking school bus Wednesday morning making the short trip from the Sullivan Apartments in Springfield up the street to Boland Elementary School.

The kick-off to the walking school bus program was held as part of International Walk to School Day.

"It lets the students know that they are important to us, we want them to be in school, and we are happy to come to them at their homes and be a part of their community," said Boland School Principal Lisa Bakowski.

This is the city's second walking school bus program. And, the outreach coordinator with Talk/Read/Succeed!, Lynn Cimino, who helped put together the event says the program provides students with many valuable benefits.

"No. 1, it gets kids some exercise, it lowers the absenteeism, it helps with some of the bullying that is going on in the city so we see less of it," said Cimino.

Parents dropping off their kids for the new program say it's a great idea.

"I feel like they are safe and they have a way to get to school with all of their friends and it is pretty good," said parent Jessenia Hernandez.

And many students say they like that they get to spend more time with the friends before the school day starts.

Meantime, over at Beal Elementary School students also participated in international walk to school day they conducted a surprise flash mob and then walked to school together.

"It's a fun way to kick something off so that the kids now had a fun activity, they've got their blood going and hopefully it will lean over and everybody will do a great job in school today," said Beal Elementary School Principal Debbie Beglane.

Officials hope to expand the walking school bus program to other schools in the city in the future.

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