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Alabama Students Walk to School to Protest Gas Prices

9:10 PM PDT on May 26, 2008

alabama_students.jpg
On their way to class, Brooks High students brave the shoulder along route 72.

Perhaps taking a page from their peers in New Jersey, students at Brooks High in Florence, Alabama are ditching their cars in favor of walking to school. The Times Daily of northwest Alabama reports:

Students began wondering how much they could change gas prices by getting the whole student body to walk to school. Without involving theschool or the administration, approximately 50 classmates were recruited during a meeting last week. The students drew maps and planned for two groups to walk from Killen and Center Star to school.

The students have been walking to school all week. There is much to commend here: The civic-mindedness, the willingness to walk a not-insignificant distance (along a route so hazardous that cops have to check in on them), and the tacit understanding that reducing VMT can reduce dependence on gas. The students even had to work around parade rules that could have put a crimp in their protest plans. And the organizers anticipate that high gas prices are not going away anytime soon:

The group will continue its protest until the last day of school on May 29. Simbeck and McCutchen said they also plan to continue the protest next school year as seniors.

That said, and this may just be a matter of how the reporter chose to word the story, this high school protest appears to be more of a cry for help at the pump than an assertion of pedestrian and cyclist rights. Then again, who wouldn't turn to pedestrian advocacy after a week of walking, with no sidewalk and apparently no trees, along traffic-dominated, sun-scorched U.S. 72?

Photo: Times Daily

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