James Simons Montessori School parents, guardians, and students, along with other downtown school parents, were encouraged to walk to school on November 14, 2022, to advocate for traffic safety awareness, especially in the downtown area. Students and their families walked with signs that said “Slow Down for Students.” One parent dressed up as a turtle and stood at the intersection as students and families crossed the intersection of Rutledge and Moultrie Street on their way to school.
The event was organized by Andrea Grabman and other James Simons parents. Grabman reached out to members of the Friends of James Simons (FOJS) board, who are also parents, and together, they put their idea into action.
“This slogan and students walking in mass to school will hopefully bring attention to the fact that these intersections are effectively school zones,” explained FOJS chair Kimberly Gleason. “We hope this effort will emphasize the issue that these intersections are also student crossing zones and drivers need to be mindful of pedestrians, specifically students, as they travel through their school zones.”
FOJS Extracurricular Enrichment Director Dominique Godfrey added there has been positive momentum behind safety for walkers and bikers on the streets and intersections near James Simons.
“Local leaders, parents, and Charleston Moves have been making great strides,” said Godfrey. “As a result of the momentum that was created, parents wanted to capitalize on the idea to raise awareness for the safety of their student pedestrians.”
Families who didn’t live close enough to walk were encouraged to ride their bike. If they didn’t live close enough to ride their bike, they were encouraged to park at Hampton Park and walk from there.
“Whenever our school comes together in events like these, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the community of caring people that we are a part of and the lessons in activism that we are teaching our children,” said Godfrey.
School staff, parents, and students look forward to working with additional schools in downtown Charleston to do more of the events in the future.
For more information, contact Interim Principal Beth Dillenkoffer at (843) 724-7763.