A much-loved lollipop man has quit his job after being threatened with suspension for high-fiving children as they passed.
65-year-old Bob Slade, who worked as a crossing patrol supervisor at the Manadon Vale primary school in Plymouth, says he joked and slapped palms with children on their way to school after he was told when he was employed to interact with them in a friendly way.
But when they learned of his methods, Plymouth County Council threatened to suspend him for four weeks if he didn’t stop, citing safety concerns.
“When I got the job, they told me to make contact with the kids and be friendly,” Slade said, speaking to the Plymouth Herald.
“But then they changed their minds, and I stopped high-fiving them earlier in the year because they told me to stop.
“They said they would suspend me for four weeks, but I said I would rather leave – I was going to retire soon anyway.”
A spokesman for Plymouth City Council said: “We take the safety of children very seriously and school crossing patrols exist to make sure children can cross roads as safely as possible.
“To do this, they must hold out the lollipop with one arm and hold their other arm outstretched to signal that all other traffic must stop.
“This is well-established signalling that should be understood by all drivers.”
Parents of Manadon Vale pupils have reacted with dismay to the news, posting comments in support of Mr Slade on the Internet.
One said: “A lollipop person needs to have a good rapport with the kids so they ALWAYS cross with him/her. Plymouth Councillors need to each, in turn, try doing that job themselves before coming out with this nonsense.”
October 15, 2013