Careless motorists at Darlington school to face the courts or face the children (From The Advertiser Series)
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Careless motorists at Hurworth School to face the courts or face the children
PARENTS who park dangerously when dropping children off at a village school have been warned they could face court action if they refuse to mend their ways.
For months drivers have been causing congestion in roads surrounding Hurworth School by parking inconsiderately when dropping off or picking up their children.
Some have been double parking, parking on the corners of junctions, parking on footpaths and ignoring the school’s road markings, meaning children cannot see properly when crossing the road.
The school has sent letters to all parents asking for their cooperation and police officers have also issued verbal warnings, but the problem has continued.
As a result, Durham Police are trying tougher tactics and giving persistent offenders the option of court action or being invited back to the school to face a panel of students, teachers and police officers to explain their actions.
The new approach, which was launched today (Monday, March 18) and will continue tomorrow, aims to work in the same way as restorative justice, and panel members will tell motorists the dangers they are causing to persuade offenders to mend their ways.
Acting Sergeant Kevin Salter, from the joint Durham and Cleveland Specialist Operations Unit, said: "We are seeking a long term solution, for example the possibility of single yellow lines, but in the meantime we needed to take action.
"The parents have been given ample warning but the problem has not gone away, so we are trying a restorative approach.
“The idea is to get them to understand the consequences of their actions and commit to parking more considerately in future.”
If drivers choose not to attend the restorative panel meeting they could be summonsed to court.
Headteacher Dean Judson said parking is a major problem as about 500 of the school’s 650 pupils are driven to school as there are no safe routes to walk or cycle in from Darlington.
“The volume of traffic at dropping off and picking up times is huge,” he said. “There are only about 150 of our 650 pupils who actually walk to school, the other 500 have to be driven, use school buses or public transport.
“I understand parents' concerns at wanting to be as close as they can to the school and it is about working in conjunction with the police to educate parents about safe parking.”