School crossings – a cut too far?
A news item this morning brought more worrying news for some schools. Apparently, some councils are considering getting rid of school crossing patrols or lollypop men and women to you and me, in a bid to save some money. Having been the head of a school that needed four such bodies, I was rather concerned.
‘The Lollypop’ has for decades been an integral part of the school community. Their bright uniforms not only help to keep children safe when they cross the road but also provide a friendly face before the youngsters go through the gates. For some children, worried about school, they can make the difference between attendance and going back home. I was able to use the information gathered ‘on the crossing’ to get a bigger picture of the children’s lives. Often a piece of the jigsaw would come to light as parents and children crossed.
Obviously, the main purpose of the school crossing patrol is to keep children safe. A representative of Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSOPA http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/ ) said that some crossings could be removed as they were still in ‘historic’ places rather than where need is greatest.
Among the statistics quoted were the figures for accidents caused on crossings near schools. Those without a Lollypop were 809 in 2009 while those with attendants were only 35. Good evidence you may say to maintaining these roles. A head teacher interviewed said he hoped to be able to employ his crossing patrol if they were to be cut by the council. There were even teachers shown doing the duty!
However, surely this is missing the point? There are crossings with whites lines, flashing beacons and advanced notice to warn drivers of a school near-by. The majority of our schools are in built-up areas which are adopting 20mph speed limits. So why are drivers not following the rules of the road? Why are they breaking the law? Why does it need a person in bright yellow to remind them not to travel at 50pmh plus?