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A pilot program in Springfield is aimed at teaching kids how to make responsible decisions when traveling to school. KSMU’s Shane Franklin attended an early morning assembly at Pittman Elementary where cartoon super heroes were helping prepare the children.
The Danger Rangers Sully and Kitty, large, lovable cat figures in blue and gold spandex, were brought to speak with the children, K-3rd grade, by the Springfield Public Works Department and a committee of community partners.
Their goal, according to Mandy Buettgen-Quinn, a traffic safety engineer, is to incorporate active and fun safety lessons into Springfield schools.
“We use those educational materials to keep the kids attention for once, but to also bring across that it can be cool to be safe,” said Buettgen-Quinn.
This morning’s event was the kickoff of the four week program, which includes weekly instruction on traffic and bike safety, an after school bike rodeo, and an organized walk to school with the children accompanied by parents and the Danger Rangers.
Teachers and parents are also given additional materials to help reach the children.
“We gave every teacher a copy of the Danger Ranger Cartoons that deals with pedestrian safety and one dealing with biking safety. Since they saw that ahead of time, they knew who the characters were, so once they walked they were just like ‘boom.’ They were really excited,” says Buettgen-Quinn.
The City of Springfield says they record about 120 crashes involving pedestrians each year.
Buettgen-Quinn says the main goal of the program is to save lives and to reduce this number, especially among children. She says it would be a major success if the pilot program could become available to all area elementary schools in the future.