By Rikki King Herald Writer
MONROE — Police officer Scott Kornish was surrounded Wednesday morning by pink boots, “Transformers” backpacks and tiny, inquisitive faces.
Kornish and other Monroe police officers and employees gathered in the Peace Lutheran Church parking lot to walk students to school at nearby Frank Wagner Elementary.
The long-standing, annual program is aimed at encouraging safe habits for parents and children as they walk to school, Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said.
The safety walk is one of the best days of the year every fall, Monroe School District spokeswoman Rosemary O’Neil said.
“It is always just a beautiful, sunny September morning,” she said. “Kids enjoy it. Parents enjoy it.”
On Wednesday, the elementary-school students stopped by the police booth with their parents and younger siblings to grab free juice, snacks and safety-themed goodie bags.
Many of the kids were bundled up against the morning chill, and several parents still donned their pajama pants.
Kate Gansneder, 32, stopped by with her daughters Wynter, 6, and Braelyn, 5.
“I got fruit punch,” Braelyn said.
Wynter got “color crayons” and “a pencil,” she said.
“We did this last year, and it was a great experience,” Gansneder said.
During the safety walk, kids were reminded to always cross the street using crosswalks, ideally with a buddy.
“Or my mom!” said Bekka Layton, a fourth-grader who also grabbed a goodie bag for her older sister.
Local churches, including Peace Lutheran and St. Mary of the Valley across the street, also had clergy on hand to help.
Friends Adin Roberts, 6, and Benjgi Hernandez, 6, weren’t sure how to shake hands with officer Kornish. They kept pointing at his belt and asking what each item was for.
“Is that your gun?” one asked.
As first-grader Brad Farias walked away with his mother and his snacks, the police called to him: “Have a good day!”
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org
• Children should cross the street with an adult until they are at least 10.
• Wear bright colors.
• Know drivers can’t see you. Don’t dart out between cars.
• Use crosswalks. Before crossing, look left, right and left again. Walk the bike across the street.
• Police say that younger children should bike on the sidewalk facing traffic or in the bike lane..
• Wear an appropriate helmet.
• Avoid strangers.
• Bikes should have reflective lights.
• Stick together. Try to travel with a buddy or in a group.
• No texting or listening to headphones while walking or biking.