By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia schools superintendent William Hite this afternoon put himself in the shoes of schoolkids who would have a much longer walk if their school is permanently closed.

Superintendent Hite (far right in photo) accepted the invitation of School Reform Commission member Sylvia Simms (second from right, wearing pink scarf) to walk the route the kids would take if Peirce Elementary School closes.

They walked through dangerous intersections and past some possible drug activity on the 1.2-mile walk, from 19th and Lehigh to the Rhodes School, at 29th and Clearfield Streets.

“If it’s anything that I’ve thought about when I was taking the walk, it is, this is a significant distance for children who would have to walk through some hazardous types of places on their way to school,” Hite said afterward.

The district is not required to provide transportation for students living less than 1½ miles from school.  Hite says this could be a circumstance where the district considers making an exception.

The SRC votes on the plan to close 29 schools (see related story) next Thursday.

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