8-year-old calls for school patrol on ferry route

25 Jun 2009
The Irish News

An eight-year-old boy has appealed for his school crossing patrol to be restored, saying he was nearly knocked down last week.

Michael McStay wrote a letter to The Irish News describing how he was almost hit by a car rushing to catch the Strangford ferry as he walked to St Josephメs Primary School in the Co Down village.

The school is on the main road to the ferry port that links Strangford with Portaferry, on the opposite shore of Strangford Lough.

The primary four pupil said other children are scared to cross the busy street and need a lollipop lady who retired at Christmas to be replaced.

モMy twin sisters, Catherine and Maria, are afraid to cross the road because the cars and lorries always seem to be in a hurry,ヤ he said.

モWhy is it that schools in other towns and villages have a school patrol person and we do not have one in Strangford?ヤ

It is understood the patrol service was discontinued by the South Eastern Education and Library Board because traffic levels on the road were not deemed heavy enough.

However, Michaelメs father Fred said he and other parents were concerned for their childrenメs safety.

モWe are in a similar situation as other parents ヨ we fear that there will be an accident and a child will be injured,ヤ he said.

Fr Colm McGrady, head of the St Josephメs board of governors, said his parishioners also shared parentsメ concerns.

モThe whole of the parish of Strangford and Kilclief are behind the parents over the loss of the school patrol person,ヤ he said.

モHopefully the South Eastern Education and Library Board will be able to treat the
school as an exceptional case and employ a new lollipop person.ヤ

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