04 March 2006

Lollipop campaign pays off

Belfast Telegraph

By Kathryn Torney
04 March 2006

Parents in Belfast have won a long battle to have a permanent school crossing patrol for their children, it can be revealed today.

Almost five months after the South Eastern Education and Library Board axed the patrol at Brooklands Primary in Dundonald, a decision has been taken to reinstate the service.

Parents have been staging weekly protests at the school since last October and claimed that childen's lives were at risk as a result of the board's decision not to replace their lollipop man when he retired.

The SEELB had claimed that the school did not meet criteria relating to the number of unaccompanied children crossing the road and the volume of traffic.

A similar row erupted at nearby Braniel Primary when the board said that their patrolman would not be replaced.

It was eventually decided that both schools would get temporary patrols while a review was under taken.

A parent, who acted as lollipop woman at the school for a time while attempts were made to resolve the row, said she was delighted by the decision.

"We are so relieved that we are going to have a permanent patrol person," she said.

"It is a busy road so it is great that there will be a safe crossing point for our children.

"It has been a long fight."

The DUP's Jimmy Spratt, who is a member of the board, also battled for the school patrols to be reinstated.

He said: "I am delighted by the news and think that the parents put up a very valiant fight."

Braniel Primary is still waiting for a decision on the future of its crossing patrol.

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