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Student Walking Safety Update

Wednesday Mar 29th, 2023

Erie kids walk to school, let's keep them safe!

With more than 8,000 students walking to and from school each day, through the elements, alongside busy roads and more, it is crucial for every citizen to do their part to keep students safe.

In response, United Way led a major Student Walking Safety awareness campaign in partnership with Erie's Public Schools (EPS) and the Blue Coats. United Way hosted representatives from these organizations and invited media and officials to walk the distance from the former Wayne Building on East Avenue to Edison Elementary, a United Way community school. This walking media event was an opportunity for all parties to experience what so many Erie students face each day when traveling to and from school.

Simultaneously, EPS took over the crossing guards for the City of Erie and in just a few months there have been 43 crossing guards officially hired. These guards patrol major corners and crossways that were designated as high need/high risk by EPS officials and will be out each morning and afternoon with their bright yellow vests and red stop signs making sure students get to and from school safely.

One of these crossing guards is Robert Horning, otherwise known as Mr. Bob, who has been serving for ten years at both Harding Elementary and Strong Vincent, both United Way community schools. As a retiree, Mr. Bob makes it his mission to never miss a shift, which he credits to the kids and families that he crosses each day.

"My favorite part of being a crossing guard are the families. I have met a lot of good families, the kids and their parents. Another favorite part is seeing the kids grow up...some of them go here, some are now in high school and some even in college now. They still see me and wave at or call me and ask how I am doing," said Mr. Bob.

Mr. Bob takes his role very seriously and agrees student walking safety is a top priority. Mr. Bob notes many drivers use West Eighth Street each day as their route to and from work or school and that we each can do our part to put down the phone, slow down at a yellow light and in school zones and be on the lookout for students and families crossing the street.

"The kids getting to school safely is the most important thing. You can see the traffic is really bad--this is a main route, so traffic is busy and fast and there are a lot of distracted drivers," stated Mr. Bob.

Despite the busy traffic, Mr. Bob plans on continuing his service as a crossing guard for as long as he can. Thank you, Mr. Bob, the other crossing guards and everyone else doing their part to keep Erie's kids safe!