Sunderland kids’ protest march

Richard Avenue School pupils taking part in a protest about parking outside the school.
Richard Avenue School pupils taking part in a protest about parking outside the school.
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HUNDREDS of determined pupils staged a mass school walkout in protest at their parents’ dodgy driving.

Armed with banners and posters, 350 children from Sunderland’s Richard Avenue Primary School downed their pens and pencils and marched out of their classrooms in the bid to make mams and dads slow down.

The children, along with their teachers, fear that unless road safety outside the school is improved, it is only a matter of time before a child is injured or killed.

The good-natured demo was held to raise awareness of traffic congestion and call for the road outside the Barnes school to become a 20mph zone.

The children also wanted to send a message to parents battling school-run traffic, who park illegally on nearby zig-zag lines.

Young campaigners Fay Dowan, Ellie Croshaw, Mahir Ali, Archie Elwell, all nine, and Willow Pacey, eight, had a joint message for car-driving parents.

“It’s to tell them about how to park safely and how you can get a £60 fine and three points on your licence if you don’t.

“People are parking in front of the gates and letting their children out, and doing three-point turns in the road.”

Pat Lamb, a personal, social and health leader at the school, said: “The whole school is involved.

“Year 4 particularly have started a road safety campaign.

“We have done a survey and we had the community police and WalkWise in to talk about road safety.

“The main thing is that we want to see the speed limit brought down to 20mph outside the school.

“It’s very congested and sometimes people park on the zig-zag lines or park up on the pathway.”

The school hopes to encourage parents to walk their children to school, to reduce traffic jams and boost fitness levels.

Mrs Lamb added: “We had a walk to school campaign last week, or a park and walk for those who live quite far away.

“It’s just so congested for the children. We do road safety in school, but with the best will in the world, it is very hard to cross.”

Barnes Councillor Michael Essl was at the school gates to show his support.

He said: “It’s great to see young people being involved and active and trying to change things.”

Twitter: @janethejourno