COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - When you send your kids to school, you expect them to be the ones learning, but in Muscogee County one program is teaching parents a few helpful tips.
There are more than 300 schools in Georgia participating in the Clean Air Program, which encourages drivers to stop idling in school zones. And out of all those schools, Mathews Elementary was chosen to host a special guest to give them a friendly reminder.
"No Idling" is a small action that makes a big difference.
"We've been asking our drivers to not idle so it keeps the air clean of gas fumes and is easier on our children's lungs and makes it a healthier situation," said Mathews Elementary School Assistant Principal Jan Greene.
Parents are asked to turn off their engines while they wait for their kids to get out of school.
Joey Giunta with the Clean Air Campaign told News Leader Nine, "I think most people are receptive to the program. The "No Idling" is one of the most popular programs. We also work with schools to find bus and carpool solutions to reduce the number of vehicles coming on to campus."
Carolyn Lacanilao turns off her van when she picks her children up from school. She says, "My kids have asthma so I think it's perfect that they're trying to promote that for the kids that are waiting along the wall there."
Even the school bus drivers are setting an example by turning off their buses. Sandi Quinlan has been driving a bus for five years and says, "It was hard to catch on, especially summertime when it's hot, and you have air conditioning on the bus, but you have to turn the buses off at the school."
And to thank the drivers and remind them to keep up the good work, the "Clean Air BAIR" showed up at the school. Giunta explained, "BAIR is a big blue bear. He's going to come out and give high fives and hugs and thank the parents and bus drivers for not idling and say bye to the kids as they leave for the day."
The Muscogee County School District actually has one of the highest Clean Air Campaign participation rates in the state with more than 50 percent of the schools involved in the program.
It's an easy reminder for parents to keep the environment in mind not only at school, but also in other parts of their life.