Don't Cut Corners with our Children's Lives: Protect school crossing patrols and keep our children safe on the road
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UPDATE: This petition, updated a year on in February 2016 is obviously to ask Devon County Council to keep funding our school crossing patrols all over Devon, because we trust our Council the most with our children's lives. John Hart said it himself and we all agree with his statement "Devon County Council has a duty to protect the young, the old and the vulnerable". He said it again on TV, the Council Tax is increasing so they can protect the "vulnerable". Who is more young and more vulnerable than a child crossing the road? The Council has received an additional 8 Million pounds from the government and we believe £250 000 is a worthwhile investment to save children's lives.
We want to ensure that all schools benefit from the same level of school crossing protection. For that reason, we do not believe the cost should be transferred to schools which are under extreme financial pressures. This will inevitably mean some schools will be able to afford it and others won't. We need uniformity across schools, to ensure that no school is left even for one day without a school crossing patrol and this can only be safely guaranteed by the Council. It has done a great job up until now at keeping our children safe and we ask them please to continue to look after them. We trust no one else.
We have learned that the county council is looking to shave £100,000 off its school crossing patrol budget over the next two years. This means many schools will no longer have a lollipop lady or man to help children cross the road. What is even more alarming is that some schools do not even have adequate pedestrian crossings. To have neither pedestrian crossing nor a lollipop person is a disaster waiting to happen. Schools in this situation include:
1) Stoke Hill Infants, many of whose children are required to cross the dangerous Stoke Hill roundabout, and where school crossing patrols are a rare sight. Not only does it not have any lollipop person but also no pedestrian crossing on the extremely dangerous Stoke Hill roundabout. Cars never stop there to let children cross the roundabout. A great number of children live in the Mount Pleasant area and need to cross on the roundabout. Some parents for whom Stoke Hill school is their catchment school did not choose Stoke Hill as their first choice for one reason only: the dreaded Stoke Hill roundabout which they deem unsafe for their children.
2) The lollipop crossing at Hamlin Lane is also under threat. This is a very busy and dangerous road to cross. This crossing patroller serves three schools, St Michael’s and Ladysmith Infant and Junior.
3) Clyst Heath school needs a crossing point too - though smaller than the Stoke Hill crossing point, it is still dangerous at drop off/collection point. In fact a local resident mentioned: "I live near Clyst Heath school. A lot the school-run drivers need to cut their speed before someone's child gets knocked down. Pets have already been killed."
4) St Thomas Primary where the streets get really busy and where lots of cars are parked both sides. One mum whose child attends this school commented: "St Thomas primary haven't had a lollipop person since my son started and he is now in year one."
5) Other schools which have lost their crossing patroller are: Alphington Primary, Ladysmith Infants and Junior, and Woodwater Lane Academy.
6) The schools which - astonishingly - no longer meet the criteria and are under consultation to find alternative funding are Pinhoe, St Leonard’s Primary, Stoke Hill Infants, Nursery and Junior and St Michael’s Academy.
7) Schools which are currently in consultations with school governors about possible funding by the school are Montgomery Primary and Willowbrook Primary.
I am 36 and have two little girls of 5 years and 19 months. When I was 16, I was run over on a pedestrian crossing on my way to school. I had waited for the little green man, but a car ran a red light and I was knocked down. The car was going at 50 mph and the surgeons who operated on my shoulder said it was a miracle I survived. On my way to school that day, there was no school crossing patrol. I stayed in hospital for two weeks, had emergency surgery and luckily recovered to be here today to tell the tale. The next day and for many weeks after that, there was a lollipop lady to help children cross that very busy road. No doubt if the same happened to one of our children in Exeter today, if one of our children got injured or killed, the next day a school patrol would be there, but it would be too late.
Now is the time to express our concern for our children's safety before a tragedy happens, and to demand that Devon County Council protect the school crossing patrol budget. Whatever cuts need to be made, let's not risk cutting short our children's lives.
Lucie Hinton, representing the voices of the Mums in Exeter Facebook group and the voices of concerned parents from all of Exeter's schools.
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