Carl Schneider of Whitney Achievement Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee, has proven he’s willing to literally go the extra mile to take care of his students. Tabitha Tudy Jones recently snapped a photo of Schneider, a special education teacher, walking his students home and the story has since gone viral.
Schneider isn’t alone — his fellow teachers walk about 40 students home every day to make sure they’re safe. Around 200 of the 400 students at the school walk home each day. “Frayser gets a lot of bad press, but I have never felt unsafe,” Schneider told WAFF about the neighborhood. “I smile and look at every single person I walk by in the eye and they reciprocate.”
“When we started to launch the school, we recognized that there was a need in the community for children to be able to get home safely,” explained Whitney Achievement Principal Debra Broughton.
Schneider says walking students home has other benefits too. “We can just get to know the kids and talk about what they did over the weekend or how their behavior was at school that day or what they learned,” he said.
“This is just part of my routine, and it’s something that I look forward to so I was kind of surprised but at the same time,” said Schneider. “At the same time, I’m also really glad that people know the teachers in this community are really invested in the community.”
Schneider, who came to Memphis as part of the Teach for America program, said parents also like the program. "I have one student who is on a student behavior plan, and I meet with his dad every day to let him know how his child behaved that day and any solutions we can work toward,'' Schneider told Today. "The parents are invested and eager to know how their children are doing."
Broughton believes the program makes a difference.“When you build healthy relationships with students, with parents, with partners in the community, that’s how transformation really takes place,” she said.