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Kids were stopping traffic all over Hamilton County on Wednesday morning.

In single-file lines, backpacks donned, holding the hands of parents and teachers, they marched through crosswalks and over sidewalks to celebrate Walk to School Day.

In the chilly morning air, about 150 students from Battle Academy set off at 8:05 a.m. from the Tennessee Pavilion for the one-mile walk to school. Fourth-grader Cedric Lewis had only one complaint.

"We walk around a lot of food and we don't get to eat any of it," the 9-year-old said as he passed La Alteña Mexican restaurant on Main Street.

Meant to encourage physical activity and raise awareness about safe walking and biking routes, the event brought together about 5,000 schools around the country that planned to participate.

Battle physical education teacher Chris Darras, who organized the event, said he used the walk to teach his students that they can get exercise participating in daily activities.

Battle students who didn't walk to school Wednesday spent time walking around the building instead, he said.

But walking to school hasn't been all fun and games at schools across the district lately.

Cindy Higgins, a parent at DuPont Elementary School, said all she wants to do is walk her kids to school. Higgins, who lives across the street from the school, uses the raised walkway above Hixson Pike that connects her neighborhood to the school, but recently has been told to stop.

"That is one reason why we moved here. I thought, 'It'll be great, I can walk the kids,'" she said.

But Higgins said she stopped after Principal Anita Coleman told her six weeks ago that new school policy banned walking to school.

She broke the rules Wednesday, though, and walked first-grader Meagan and kindergartner James to DuPont.

Ray Swoffard, deputy superintendent of campus support for Hamilton County Schools, said the policy is not aimed at Higgins or other parents who want to walk their children from home to school.

The problem, he said, has been that parents eager to escape the long pick-up and drop-off lines at DuPont will park at McDonald's or another business across the street, then walk their kids the rest of the way. That requires them to walk across traffic, which isn't safe, Swoffard said.

After a meeting Wednesday with the county and city engineers, Swoffard said officials will look over their suggestions on how to fix the issue.

No one is trying to keep people from walking to school, Swoffard said.

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