Keeping the streets safe, at least for the walk to school

Photo by Laura A. Oda/Tribune Staff

This morning, I saw a School Safety Patrol in action outside the Manzanita elementary school campus in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. The safety operation seemed to be working well enough, but it wasn’t until the volunteers had packed up and left the intersection (after the morning rush) that I realized how important their presence was.

Tony Smith recently said that when he visit schools, he sometimes takes a lap around the neighborhood to learn more about the conditions in which kids live — and that he has, at least on one occasion, surprised teenage truants. He might do a loop around Manzanita, if he hasn’t already.

I wrote a short piece today, from a mother’s perspective, about efforts to protect children from crazy drivers, drug dealers and anything else that might harm them on the way to or from school. You can read it here. (Note: Hopefully the online photo caption will be fixed soon, but Elizabeth Ramos has one daughter, 11, and one son, 6, at the school — not two daughters.)

How would you describe the safety conditions around your school (or your child’s school)? What needs to change, in your opinion? How did you school observe Walk to School Day?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.