NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) -- A new approach in New Britain hopes to help put a stop to kids skipping out on school.
Officials hope some small steps can make a big difference. It's called the walking school bus, a concept unveiled Thursday in New Britain.
"It's a bus without a bus," explained Joe Vaverchak, Attendance Director for New Britain Schools.
"One parent will start out with their children, and they will start walking down the bus route. There are set bus routes -- everybody knows what their bus route is -- they'll be walking down the bus route. Other parents and other children will jump on the bus."
A school carpool but on foot, with a primary goal of better attendance.
"Kids are going to want to participate in this," community leader Paulette Fox said. "When you do stuff collectively, I think your child will say 'Mom, we have to be on time because the group is going to leave me.'"
But that's just one perk.
"They're going to build relationships, and it's just a great social piece for our kids, just to be together and talking and having fun as they walk to school," Vaverchak said.
Parents say they derive benefits from the walking school bus as well. Kinda like reverse-heredity: they get it from their kids.
"I think the parents, the exercise that you can get, the camaraderie, talking; they can get ideas, and the youth are happy," Fox said.
And, just like the fun, there's safety in numbers.
"Kids aren't darting out in to the street, they don't have to worry about if they're playing football or throwing the ball around," Vaverchak said. "They're going to be structured."
This is a first step, it's hoped, toward other schools and districts joining the school kid conga line.
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