Lollipop lady slams council cuts

Lollipop man David Parton, Biggar'5/12/13
Lollipop man David Parton, Biggar'5/12/13

A long-serving lollipop lady says the council’s plan to phase out dedicated school crossing patrol officers will result in an accident.

The woman, who asked not to be named, works as a school crossing patrol officer for East Dunbartonshire Council.

She’s worried that a child could be killed if they go ahead with their plan to use other members of staff from the facilities management team as school crossing patrol officers, such as janitors, cleaners and catering staff.

She was initially employed by Strathclyde Police and received a week’s training with proper back-up when it was required. Now she is employed by the council and says she has never met her new boss.

She said: “I’m surprised that no-one has been killed already as resources have been spread so thin.

“One of my colleagues was asked to cover four school crossings, which is impossible.

“When parents complain that there is no-one at their child’s school crossing my boss just tells them the school is covered.

“When we complain we are told to be quiet or lose your job.

“The new school patrol officers only receive two hours training and if they expect cleaners, janitors and kitchen staff to carry out this role it will be even worse, because they don’t even want to do it. They are doing it under duress.

“School crossing officers are dedicated. There are very few people willing to stand outside in all weathers.

“It’s also dangerous job - cars drive past when you are standing in the middle of the road holding up your pole. Cars also mount the pavement.

“Many motorists accelerate to get past as they are in a hurry. I really don’t know how there hasn’t been an accident so far.”

Grace Irvine, the council’s neighbourhood services director, said: “The safety of children using crossings is of paramount importance to the council and we would never put any child at risk.

“School crossing patrollers do a very important job for the local community and there will be no job losses amongst them. East Dunbartonshire Council takes the school pupils health and safety seriously and full training will be given before facilities employees take on any new responsibilities.”