East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has condemned the Education Authority for removing the provision of a school crossing patrol at Eden Primary School in Carrickfergus.
Mr Wilson said he had been contacted by a number of parents and others who were concerned that the position was not to be replaced after the retirement of the current ‘lollipop’ lady at the end of this term.
“The road through Eden is extremely busy carrying all of the main traffic between Belfast and Larne along the A2. The police regard it as a road where there is excessive speed because speed cameras are placed on the road on a regular basis and clearly the Education Authority have deemed that it is necessary to have a patrol at this point since there has always been a lollipop lady assisting children across the road at this location.
“In a response from the Education Authority, it has been pointed out that a ‘puffin crossing’ was provided in 2013 and this was now deemed to be sufficient for ensuring the safety of children crossing the road.
“The obvious question that needs to be asked is, if that is the case, why then has a patrol crossing been in place from 2013 when the puffin crossing was installed until the present day.
“Furthermore, the Education Authority have indicated that it is parental responsibility to ensure the safety of children travelling to and from school.
“Many children do make their own way to school and this is entirely appropriate. In fact, often the Education Authority and other government departments are arguing that they want to see the end of the school run and less cars on the road at school opening and closing times, yet this would entail many children making their own way to school and having to cross the road without parental supervision.
“In this situation, surely it is the responsibility of the Education Authority to provide appropriate supervision at points where it is known there is a lot of traffic which travels at excessive speeds.
“This is an issue I believe the Education Authority does need to address and I and my colleagues intend to continue to support the school in their desire to have proper supervision at this crossing.”