Parents have slammed advice that Shoreham pupils must not high five their school’s lollipop man while crossing the road as ‘ridiculous’.
In a letter from Buckingham Park Primary School in Buckingham Road, Shoreham, parents were informed that West Sussex’s Road Safety Team had stated pupils must not high five lollipop man Mr Munnery while crossing the road as ‘the children should be focussing on crossing safely and quickly’.
The advice has been criticised by parents ‘pointless spoil sporting’ – but a spokesman from West Sussex County Council said it was ‘potentially dangerous for children to distract school crossing patrols in the middle of the road’.
Jaye Marie Todd, who has two children at the school aged nine and five, said: “I feel strongly about this issue because it’s a little bit of harmless fun for the children.
“That little bit of fun interaction encourages the children to use the crossing so they can cross the road safety.
“Has there ever been any children knocked down while using this crossing?
“I’ve not heard of any, so what harm does a cheerful high five give cause.”
Mrs Todd has started a petition calling on the county council to ‘bring back high five’s for Mr Munnery’.
The petition states: “Mr Munnery has served in this job for 10 years and his jolly greetings are something not only the school kids but the parents look forward to.”
Several residents have written comments in support of the petition.
Sarah Steeples wrote of Mr Munnery: “His focus is on safety and looks after our children, this ban is rubbish.”
Damian Hurley, who signed the petition, wrote that Mr Munnery was a ‘great bloke, always has his eye on the ball’, adding: “The fact he has such good rapport with the kids makes them want to cross the road safely, rather than muck about.”
Adam Hurley wrote: “Miserable bureaucrats must be stopped from pointless spoil sporting.”
Lester Ingledew, a semi-retired resident of Shoreham Beach, described the county council’s advice as ‘illogical’ and ‘ridiculous’.
He said: “How far do you take this nanny state attitude to life?
“I get the motivation, I understand there’s a safety element to it.
“But one the guy has made a decision and he has walked into the road, are they implying a car is not going to wait and knock a child down?
“They are not going to do that, it’s not going to happen.
“It’s not logical. He is not going to create a lack of duty of care.
“We are getting to a nanny state situation where we are not allowed to interact.
“It needs to be questioned.”
However a spokesman from the county council said: “We drew some sound road safety advice to parents’ attention through the school newsletter: It is potentially dangerous for children to distract school crossing patrols in the middle of the road by high-fiving.
“High-fiving during crossing would involve a distraction, however fleeting it might be, and patrols need to be aware of potentially fast-changing traffic situations at all times.
“This is entirely different to a harmless, friendly greeting, if safe to do so, on the pavement, when it is not distracting anyone.”