HMMM OYINBO : WOMAN BANNED FROM GIVING CHILDREN HIGH FIVE (SEE WHY )
Sheila Allen, 58, was told that she must keep her eyes on the road and not be distracted by the children as they cross.
She can smile and give them a thumbs up, but no high fives are allowed outside St Illtyd Primary School in Llantwit Major, South Wales.
However parents are supporting her and campaigning on her behalf.
Mum-of-two Lucy Heffernan, 34, said: ‘It is completely ridiculous. Some mornings my son cries when I bring him to school because he doesn’t like coming – but Sheila can turn his whole morning around with a high five.
She’s a lovely lady – friendly and kind. She knows all the kids and takes her job very seriously.’
The ban came about after the Vale of Glamorgan Council received complaints from drivers claiming that her high-fiving was causing traffic jams.
Children crossing the road this morning were offering their hand to Sheila but she avoided breaking the rules by keeping one hand on her stick and the other behind her back.
Amy Milne, 22, who has a four-year-old daughter at the school, said: ‘My little one loves the high fives. It’s so silly having to explain to her she can’t do it anymore.
‘Sheila’s making crossing the road safely fun and I can’t see anything wrong with it. All this fuss from the council is more of a distraction that the high fives ever were.’
Father-of-one Henry Dawson, 26, said: ‘My son’s seven and twice a day he expects to high five Sheila and I have to tell him no.
‘Plenty of kids are still putting their hand out for her and she’s leaving them hanging. It just seems so unfair. There’s a special needs unit in St Illtyd’s primary school and a lot of the children are very shy.
‘They get a high-five from Sheila and it sets their day off. I think somebody has complained that it’s taking too much time.’
A Facebook campaign has been launched to back grandmother Sheila who’s done the job for 10 years. One mum shouted ‘We love you Sheila’ as she watched her help her children across the road.
Sheila won a council award in 2006 for her service in helping children cross the road – named Vale of Glamorgan council’s lollipop lady of the year.
Deputy Council leader at the time, Tony Williams, praised Shelia in a speech for her ‘enviable safety record, devotion to duty and caring attitude.’
But Emma Reed, the council’s head of visible services and transport, backed the ‘high-five’ ban.
She said: ‘Like most councils our school crossing patrol teams operate in line with the Road Safety GB National Guidelines.
‘These guidelines make clear that patrol officers should “avoid any distractions or activities that could divert your attention from your important task of seeing pedestrians safely across the road’ and should not remain in the road longer than is necessary as this causes undue delays to traffic”.
‘This is why after receiving complaints from members of the public we had to remind this member of our team of the importance of putting safety first at all times.’