On November 18, 2020, the City of Menlo Park celebrated the second annual Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day in San Mateo County. The Safe Routes to School team invited schools across the City to honor Ruby’s legacy by promoting the event among their students and families. Although some students have remained at home during the school year, schools encouraged students to walk around their neighborhood to celebrate the event.
In total, over 145 students participated with 68 percent of students walking/rolling to school while approximately 31 percent of students walked/rolled around their neighborhood. Approximately 71 percent of students walked while the remaining students rode their bike, scooter and/or skateboard. In addition to students walking on this day, teachers discussed the historical impact of Ruby Bridges and encouraged students to create artwork highlighting what they had learned. Some classrooms also reviewed the health benefits of walking and biking.
Ruby Bridges became a symbol of the civil rights movement at age six when she was the youngest of a group of African-American students designated to integrate schools in the American South. On November 14, 1960 – her first day of school at William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans – she was escorted by four federal marshals, and spent the entire day in the principal’s office as irate parents marched into the school to remove their children.
In May 2018, a group of fifth-graders from Martin Elementary School in South San Francisco, California, learned about Ruby Bridges and asked their school board to pass a resolution making Nov. 14 Ruby Bridges Day. The San Mateo County Office of Education Safe Routes to School team met with the students about making it a walk to school day and invited them to present this proposal to the San Mateo County Board of Education.
San Mateo County passed a resolution endorsing November 14 as Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day. The Safe Routes to School team invited other schools to join the Martin students in honoring Ruby’s courage by celebrating this walk to school day.
The City thanks and appreciates everyone that participated this year, especially the students’ resiliency and creativity to celebrate while social distancing. To learn more about Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day, visit the San Mateo County Office of Education webpage