Don't put our lives in danger, schoolchildren in Sheffield urge drivers

Pupils protest outside Lydgate Junior School
Pupils protest outside Lydgate Junior School
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Pupils took to the street to campaign for a safer crossing outside their school in Sheffield where there have been a number of 'near misses'.

Around 400 youngsters at Lydgate Junior School in Manchester Road, Crosspool, demonstrated on Monday (May 15) against drivers they say are putting their lives in peril.

Pupils have already had some success in their protest against dangerous driving

Pupils have already had some success in their protest against dangerous driving

As well as a safer 'puffin' crossing, they want the speed limit to be cut from 30mph to 20mph and new signs to be installed warning drivers to look out for schoolchildren.

They are also keen to get the message across to parents that parking outside the school, near the crossing, reduces visibility, adding to the risk young pedestrians face.

Pupils organised the protest themselves, creating their own posters to wave at passing motorists, and they have also written to their MP Nick Clegg and Sheffield Council voicing their fears.

Teacher Ann Parker said she was 'extremely proud' of them for standing up for their safety and that of children at neighbouring Tapton Secondary School and King Edward VII School, who also use the crossing.

Monday's demonstration was the latest in a series of protests by Sheffield schoolchildren against dangerous driving

Monday's demonstration was the latest in a series of protests by Sheffield schoolchildren against dangerous driving

"You have hundreds of children coming out of three schools within half an hour of each other and using that crossing, which becomes very congested," she said.

"It's a real cause for concern. We've had so many near misses where children could easily have been knocked down, and I think both the secondary schools have had pupils knocked down.

"We're really proud of all our pupils for what they're doing to benefit themselves and other children."

Ms Parker added that giving pupils a voice and ensuring their opinions are heard is a key plank of its ethos as a Unicef Rights Respecting School.

She said Nick Clegg had responded to their letter and the council had visited the site to see how safety could be improved.

She also told how the three schools had staggered ends to the day, to prevent pupils all spilling onto the road at the same time.

However, she said Tapton had been planning to change the time of its final bell but was now reconsidering after pupils at Lydgate raised their concerns about the possible safety implications.

The Star highlighted earlier this year how nearly 30 fines a week are being issued to drivers endangering children by parking irresponsibly outside schools in Sheffield.

In February, youngsters at Athelstan Primary School in Handsworth stood outside the gates monitoring drivers' bad behaviour in a bid to get them to change their ways.

Earlier that month, police were called to Carfield Primary School in Meersbrook where tempers flared over a demonstration staged by parents.

Those protests followed a recent crackdown by Sheffield Council and South Yorkshire Police against dangerous parking, which saw warnings and fines issued to drivers flouting regulations outside schools.

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