Our young blogger Rowan gives her view on parents parking around Edinburgh’s schools.
Parents all around the world seem to have a bad habit of parking dangerously around schools when they drop off their children. It is not only dangerous for the children attending the school, but is also dangerous for the people who live around the school, the elderly and – of course – mothers pushing buggies.
I see the problem not only as a pupil at my school. I also live across the road from a primary school, and the parents park illegally and dangerously and I regularly see children almost being knocked over. I also notice both at school and at home that it is normally the same people who park illegally and dangerously.
I thought it was only a problem at my school and my home, but when I searched Google I found out that it happens all over the world.
How it affects my children’s rights
There are three articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC which I see are being breached by this bad behaviour. They are:
Recent local stories
In the past few weeks, there have been two stories in the Edinburgh Evening News concerning this behaviour. In one of the stories, the Principal of one of the capital’s leading schools, George Heriot’s, called the parents of his pupils who were parking illegally “careless and selfish”. He sent out a letter to all the parents at the £11,600 a year school telling them to “avoid creating contentious and potentially dangerous situations”.
In another local story, it was reported, and I have seen with my own eyes, that parents are ignoring the Safer Streets project, which bans traffic from entering certain streets at certain times during the beginning and end of the school day except if the cars have a disabled badge or a resident’s permit.
After reading these two stories I decided to speak to the Principal of George Heriot’s, Mr Cameron Wylie. I first asked Mr Wylie whether any of the comments he made to the newspaper had upset any parents. He told me that all of the feedback from the parents was good and he never got comments from the careless and selfish parents.
The Principal also told me that he had not received any feedback from his pupils and that since the story appeared in the newspaper he had not received any further complaints from the Police or residents. He also agreed with me that dangerous parking would be an ongoing problem.
I also interviewed Councillor Lesley Hinds, who is in charge of Transport at the City of Edinburgh Council. She told the newspaper in the other story I read that the safer streets programme was working.
I asked her why she thought this. “It is only a few parents that are breaking the law”, she told me. I disagreed with her, and told her that every single day people ignore the safer streets signs and park outside my school— what was she was going to do about it? She replied with “You will have to speak to your head teacher and local councillor or the police. The Police will threaten to fine people as a last resort” she told me.
I then told her that Article 4 of the UNCRC says that I have the right to have my rights made a reality by the government. Article 3 says that adults should do what is best for me and Article 19 says I have the right to be protected from being hurt. I told her that as my local government they were breaching article 4 and how would she fix this.
“We put in the safer streets programme so I don’t believe we are breaching the convention,” she said. I pushed her by telling her twice that as it was not being enforced she was breaching Article 4, but she disagreed with me.
I also requested to interview Inspector Alan Carson from Police Scotland who was also quoted with Councillor Hinds in the newspaper article but he didn’t get back to me.
My comments on the problem
Mr Wylie was 100 percent correct. The parents who park illegally around schools are not only breaching the UNCRC (the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).
The disabled children and parents need to park. Children need to be able to cross the street.
They are careless and selfish. The Police and the Council should also see this. They must stop it. Councillor Hinds was wrong when she said the police would threaten to fine them as a last resort. They must enforce the law and must fine if it is being broken. I believe that only when the laws are enforced can our safety be guaranteed from careless and selfish parents.
I would like to thank one of my friends, Carrie, for giving me the idea for this blog.