A THREAT TO SCHOOL KIDS
Petition to stop council bus changes
School children could be put in danger from paedophiles if South Lanarkshire Council press ahead with changes to school bus provision, according to parents in Halfway.
Dozens of concerned residents attended a second public meeting at Flemington Hallside Church on Monday night to discuss the changes.
And a petition signed by nearly 5000 people was handed to South Lanarkshire officials yesterday (Tuesday) by a sub-committee of Halfway Community Council.
The consultation process into the proposed change closes today (May 13).
Under the plan, which only affects high school pupils, only kids living three miles or more from their secondary school will be eligible for free transport rather than the current two.
Parents at this week’s meeting blasted the council, saying they would only take road safety into account when determining safe walking routes.
One parent claimed there were 132 known paedophiles in the Rutherglen and Cambuslang area, although an FOI from the Reformer last year stated the number of sex offenders was actually 47.
Another said: “What really concerns me is I cannot believe for one second the council have done road safety checks but have not considered personal safety.” Another said they felt “physically
sick” at the prospect of their kids having to walk three miles to school with potential sex offenders in the area.
After the meeting, mother’s told the Reformer their concerns.
Tina Park (39), said she was worried about her 11-year-old daughter, Lori, walking from their Gateside Avenue home when she makes the step up from Park View to Stonelaw next year.
She said: “These kids are going to be walking through a massive public park.
“When they are walking to school, what securities are they going to have?
“My daughter is only 11, but she’s 5’5”. Stick some makeup on and she could pass for 18. Between me and my husband, she will never walk to school, but she is having this opportunity taken away from her.”
Sharon Dixon, whose 13year-old daughter, Katy, will need to walk from Gilbertfield Road to Cathkin High, said: “They are expecting children to walk in very isolated areas.
“My husband and I have looked at maps, we want to keep her off the main roads, but traffic is abysmal everywhere.”
At the meeting, chaired by Jackie Rinn, community councillor John Edgar, said they had received assurances form the council that enough officers would be available to carry out road safety assessments for families.
Sandy Patterson ran through the criteria for the road safety assessments as set down by the West of Scotland Road Safety group.
Parents were also told that only one person would be permitted to co- ordinate a private bus if they chose to run one.
The meeting was attended by James Kelly MSP and Councillor Christine Deanie.
Yesterday (Tuesday), Jackie Rinn, John Edgar and Dougie Baird of the community council’s sub- committee handed the petition, with 4946 signatures, over to David Hinshelwood of the roads department.
The council will publish the results of their consultation on July 17.
Lynn Sherry, head of education at South Lanarkshire Council, said personal safety was the duty of the parents: “We are aware of concerns being expressed by some parents on the proposal to change the entitlement to free school travel from two miles to three miles. We have been encouraging parents to make their views known through our statutory consultation which closes on May 13.
“The council is currently working on safe walking routes, using the West of Scotland Road Safety Guidelines, and these will be available to parents when complete. The safety assessment carried out is for road safety and assessed assuming a responsible adult is accompanying the pupil.
“Where a pupil does not qualify for school transport on distance or on road safety, it is the parents’ responsibility to get them safely to and from school.”
Petition Jackie Rinn of Halfway Community Council hands over nearly 5000 signatures to David Hinshelwood at South Lanarkshire Council