'Parents, stop before you hurt or kill a child'
People parking in restricted areas outside schools are putting children at risk of being hurt or even killed, a police community support officer (PCSO) is warning.
The stark warning has come from Grantham PCSO Jackie Fulker, who says that she and her colleagues are receiving a large number of complaints regarding parking and abusive behaviour outside schools across the town.
PCSO Fulker says this has been a problem for years and now that children are returning to school after lockdown, drivers are being warned again to park responsibly. She describes the situation as an “ongoing battle” and a “massive problem”.
She also says that the problem is so widespread in the town that it is impossible for her and her colleagues to be able to police the situation all the time.
PCSO Fulker said: “We are constantly called by headteachers and concerned parents regarding this.
“Every parent that drops their child off at school has a big responsibility. That one parent in a car or those taxis that think it’s OK to drop off on the yellow lines or zig-zags, or park or drop off at these areas, are causing obstruction and danger to the parents walking their children or children crossing the road. They are causing a danger to these children and their own.”
Police and other parents have received abuse from some drivers who have been spoken to about their parking.
PCSO Fulker added: “I cannot understand anyone willing to do this, but I see it constantly, then when the culprits are spoken to they think it’s their right to do this, giving abuse to ourselves or other parents who are trying to keep the children safe.
“This is unnecceptable and dangerous.
“Most parents are complying with the rules. So, please, if you are one of the many that think it’s OK to do this, please stop before a child gets hurt or killed. OK, you may have to park a bit further away or leave a bit earlier, but better to be safe than sorry.”
Parking has been a particular problem outside St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy, on Sandon Close, which is extremely busy with traffic at the start and end of a school day.
In a statement, a St Mary’s spokesperson said the safety of all pupils is of “paramount importance”.
They added: “Mrs Wheatley, headteacher at St Mary’s Catholic Primary Academy, uses newsletters and regular communication to remind parents of road safety procedures, such as not parking on the zig zag lines outside of the school to ensure a safe drop off and pick up before and after the school day.”
This week, bad parking was highlighted outside Gonerby Hill Foot Primary School by a witness who posted a complaint on social media as he noticed cars parked on zig zags in front of the school.
The witness posted the cars’ registration numbers online and said the cars were parked on the hazard lines outside the school.
He added: “Presumably parents picking up kids. When asked if they realised they were parked on hazard lines one said, ‘Yes I know – so what?’! And just stayed parked there.”
Jayne Watson, headteacher at Gonerby Hill Foot, said she was in regular contact with parents about parking at the school and she often stands outside the school gates and asks parents to move on if they are parking irresponsibly. The school is part of Lincolnshire Police’s ‘mini police’ scheme and has junior road safety officers who talk to parents about parking issues.
Mrs Watson said: “It’s a challenge and an issue. It’s contantly something we are working on to keep everybody safe. We are working with people in the community and take all their comments seriously.
“We have parents who are unhappy, it’s not just the wider community. We work with them and are open to other solutions.”
Anybody who sees a driver causing a danger or obstruction outside a school can contact PCSO Fulker via the Lincolnshire Police website or social media site nextdoor.co.uk