MOTORISTS have put pay to a high-fiving lollipop lady.
The crossing patrol woman outside Grindon Hall Christian School has become a firm favourite, thanks to the friendly high-fives she hands out to passing pupils.
But drivers who use Pennywell Road have complained about the patrol lady and now she has been told by her employers Sunderland City Council to end her high fives on safety grounds.
Parents whose children attend the school say they are outraged and that the friendly gesture is something the pupils look forward to each day.
Kathryn Potts, 40, of Herrington, who takes her son Nathan, nine, to school, said: “I can’t see any valid reason why she shouldn’t be able to do that. She’s just being friendly to the kids. Nathan likes to do it. What’s the world coming to?”
Ryan Cumiskey, 34, of Silksworth, whose children Sam and Ava go to Grindon Hall, said: “I think it’s ridiculous really. It’s overkill. They do it every morning and every night – they look forward to it. It just seems over the top.”
Jean Crennell, 40, of Silksworth, who takes her son Oliver, seven, and her friends’ children to school every day, said: “In an educational establishment, such as a school like this, to get someone who will interact with children, who is also doing a job and keeping them safe – is there a problem?
“The world has gone absolutely political correctness mad and, to be quite honest, I think they need to have a really good look at things. It’s absolutely ludicrous. As long as she’s doing her job, what she is employed to do, does it make a difference if she’s engaging with children?”
Mark Pearson, 43, of Sunderland city centre, who takes his children Joel and Joy to the school, said: “If you ask 100 kids, 100 kids would say it’s crazy. Every single kid virtually wants to give a high-five. She’s dead chirpy, a lovely lady – it’s just ridiculous. It doesn’t stop the kids getting across if they’re giving a high-five as they walk – it’s just someone in a rush in a huff.”
Chris Gray, principal at the school, said: “We, as a school, love having our lollipop lady. She’s been very popular since she started at the school.
“I’m sure the council have good reason for doing this, but it does seem a pity and excessive. I’ve seen the kids high fiving her and it just creates a happy atmosphere outside the school.
“It doesn’t have an adverse effect on her job as she does it very well.”
Portfolio Holder for City Services, Coun James Blackburn, said: “Our school crossing patrol officers are a valued part of school and community life, helping pupils to cross the road to school safely.
“Individual officers will have their own ways of establishing the trust and confidence of pupils they help every day, but these must fit in with safety protocols.”