Saturday, November 24, 2018

Save our lollipop lady, now!

On Friday, the parents at Kirkhill primary, East Renfrewshire received this cryptic message:

'Please note, due to personnel changes in the authority, there will be a new School Crossing Patroller at Kirkvale Drive/Kirkvale Court in the New Year.

This seems to be admin speak for 'we're moving your lollipop lady elsewhere'.

Well, we, the parents at Kirkhill, are not happy about this and we won't be going down without a fight.

I have been a parent at that school (continuously) since 2002, which possibly makes me the most 'senior' parent at the school. I've been through quite a number of crossing patrollers over the years, all pleasant enough; they give you a nod as they cross your child over but Stephanie, our Stephanie, is not like that. She is made from another mould entirely. Stephanie has been at our back gate for a number of years and is right there at the heart of our school community. She has amazingly learnt the name, not only of every child using the back entrance, but their nursery and high school siblings too. She has learnt the parents' names and jobs too. She asks after everyone as you cross the road, she wishes you a lovely day doing whatever you are off to do in the office. Every morning we are greeted with a huge smile, no matter the weather, she remarks to the kids about changes of hair style, new shoes and all the rest. She notices everything and makes every one of us and our kids feel like we are the most important people in the universe.

On snowy days, she turns up early and grits the paths, she helps drivers as their car wheels spin in the snow. She comes along to all the school shows and cheers on each kid as if they were her own - probably because to her, they are. As a parent, you know that if you're running late, your child will be taken under her wing and cared for. That level of trust matters a lot. 

She deals with the dangerous and abusive drivers in a calm and authoritative manner too, which can't be easy.

Moving Stephanie to another school simply to meet some administrative criterion is the most infuriating thing I have heard for a long time. Someone who had invested so much of her own time and energy into being part of our community deserves her place. To us parents, she is the first school face of the morning and last in the evening. Stephanie is Kirkhill Primary and we call for the authority to reconsider their decision. It would take years for anyone to be able to come close to filling her shoes...

So let's all get writing to ER, our councillors and similar. We can do this! 

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