'Someone will kill a child': School run parking fears

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Media captionThe moment a teacher is run down outside a school

A parent who drove into a teacher at the school gates has been given a 10-month jail sentence.

Dramatic CCTV footage of the incident in Woking prompted you to share some of your stories and concerns about dangerous driving at school pick-up and drop-off.

Andy, school site manager

Andy has been a site manager at a primary school in Southampton since January. He says he never realised drop-off time would be quite as bad as it is.

“One of my duties is to stand at the school gates in the morning and try and keep some semblance of safety. There seems to be a distinct lack of consideration for anyone at this time of day. People can’t be bothered to get up early enough to walk so they just drive in.

“When I started I wanted to get control, now I just try and make sure nobody gets run over. I’ve reminded people that they can’t park on the zigzags or in the school entrance. I have had to ask people not to drive into school as this is a staff car park only, some people several times.

“I’ve seen people abandon the car in the middle of road and then walk their kids into class. Cars are parked over driveways and pavements.

“There’s no lack of support from school itself, but outside school we have no authority. I’ve spoken to the local police community support officers about this and they are starting to make random visits to enforce the rules.”

Sian, resident living in the same road as a school

Sian lives in a street with a primary and infant school at the end of it. Her children went to school there. She says parents are putting lives at risk – but don’t like being challenged.

“Parents – usually the same offenders every day – are constantly putting the lives of other children, parents and pets at risk by parking illegally on a junction, up on the pavements and double yellow lines.

“They even turn cars round in the small Victorian street by backing their vehicle into the school gateway itself. If challenged you just get abuse. They feel the importance of their own children getting into the school gates on time or in the rain is more important than anything else.

“One woman even left her passenger window open and her little dog was about to climb out to run after her in the midst of all the traffic. When I tried to stop it from doing this she came back embarrassed but just swore at me.”

Hannah, school worker

Hannah works in a school and has noticed that people who are usually very reasonable can become quite the opposite around drop-off time. She posted this comment on the BBC’s Facebook page:

“Having worked in schools for 15 years I have to say that normal, pleasant people who are parents turn onto self-obsessed, blinkered idiots come the school run. I have been knocked off my bike by some kid opening the car door because his dad had parked where he (knew) he wasn’t meant to.

“They only see their child and can’t be bothered to walk for five minutes when picking up or dropping off. Every new parent is told the same. You don’t use the staff car park except in emergency or if your child has mobility issues. I have heard of a child being knocked down by a selfish, lazy parent in the staff car park.

“In this incident, the parent was trying to sneak in and quite rightly the teacher was having none of it. Whatever the teacher should/should not have done that driver should not have driven into him and shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I’m glad he/she got their just deserts and I hope the poor teacher is OK.”

Christopher, parent

Christopher has two children at college in Liverpool. Both are autistic and need to be driven to and from school. He says it’s a matter of time before a tragedy happens.

“I have always had issues with parents illegally parking however, reporting this has got me nowhere. People park illegally and although the schools do their best the only solution I can see after witnessing years of this negligent impatience is a sustained period of parking tickets as well as fines for those drivers who choose to break the law.

“I have suffered abuse for simply asking people who are illegally parked to move to a legal parking place. One woman just screamed profanities at me. I now have cameras in my car so I record what’s happening.

“At the end of the day, someone will kill a child. Then we will get the usual spiel of ‘lessons need to be learned’ but it will be too late.”

Tony, resident living opposite a school

Tony lives opposite a private school in Leeds and says parent parking has been a problem for years. He says when parents park on the yellow zigzag lines outside the school, he can’t get into his drive easily.

“We have been sworn at by the mothers of the children, threatened with violence by fathers, told to go and find somewhere else to live or that we should avoid the area during school hours.

“Parents have parked up our drives and then gone for a coffee while waiting for their children and been very aggressive when their exit from our drive was blocked. Their excuse was there was nowhere else to park.

“Parking on double yellow lines, pavements, drive entrances and residents’ allotted parking areas are no obstacle to illegal parking by the parents.

“And parents are allowed to park absolutely anywhere they choose when it rains, in case their children get wet.

“This is astonishing anti-social behaviour and we are not alone in this but the schools and councils do not enforce the parking regulations.”

Julia, grandparent

Julia fears her grandson will never be able to walk to school on his own, because it is too dangerous.

“Where I live, parents insist on parking on the pavements near the school, so they can drop their children as close as possible to the gates.

“They could park in the nearby pub or community centre but choose not to. People walking to school like me get abused for daring to remonstrate. I have to struggle with the pram and have to walk in the road.

“I would love to let my grandson walk there on his own one day, great for his confidence and independence, but I can’t see that happening. One day there will be a horrendous accident, maybe then something will get done.”

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