Saturday, May 20, 2006
Lollipop man suspended for helping kids cross
An Isle of Man lollipop man has been suspended for helping school children across two roads instead of one.
Michael Hunt was employed at Marown School to patrol the A1 Peel to Douglas road - but also took children across the nearby busy Glen Darragh Road.
The Department of Transport told him to stop on insurance and safety grounds and suspended him when he refused.
Pupils from Marown School say they are appalled by his treatment and are now petitioning for his resinstatement.
Mr Hunt insists the Glen Darragh Road, just a few metres away from his regular crossing point, is an accident waiting to happen.
"I asked them (Department of Transport) on 8 February to designate it as a crossing point. "They told me they would do so, they told me it would take six weeks to achieve that. Three months later - they have not done so. I have been instructed to immediately stop escorting these children across the road and I have been suspended because I refused to do so."
In its letter to Mr Hunt, the department said: "You refused to limit your school crossing patrol activities to the presecribed area".
The department said it could not comment on personnel issues.
But it has revealed that its officers are continuing to investigate ways of improving road safety on Glen Darragh Road. Meanwhile, Mr Hunt remains suspended from his post - to the dismay of pupils and parents.
One parent said: "Mr Hunt is the best lollipop man ever. He made the children smile every morning and it's absolutely ridiculous what has happened to him."