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Council denies banning Sunderland lollipop lady for high fiving kids on safety grounds
A LOLLIPOP lady may be able to continue high-fiving passing children after a council tonight denied it had banned from carrying out the hand-slapping greeting.
Earlier parents had rushed to the defence of the "chirpy" crossing guard who is renowned for her friendly demeanour.
It was reported that she had been banned from using the high five greeting on safety grounds following complaints from motorists - although the authority now says this is not the case.
Outraged parents outside Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland blamed "huffy" motorists for ruining the happy atmosphere.
Kathryn Potts, 40, of Herrington, Sunderland, who takes her son Nathan, nine, to the school, said: "I can't see any valid reason why she shouldn't be able to do that.
"She's just been friendly to the kids. Nathan likes to do it. What's the world coming to?"
In response to initial reports, school principal Chris Gray said: "We, as a school, love having our lollipop lady. She's been very popular since she started at the school.
"I'm sure the council have good reason for doing this, but it does seem a pity and excessive."
However, tonight Sunderland City Council said it was talking to the school and the lollipop lady to "resolve the misunderstanding".
Portfolio holder for City Services, Councillor James Blackburn, said: "There was no instruction from the city council to stop high-fiving the children as they stood on the pavement as they waited to cross the road, as has been suggested.
"The guidance we provide during training is based on traffic legislation, written by Road Safety GB and supported by the THINK Road Safety campaign and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
"This recommend that while in the centre of the road an officer should have one hand of the pole and one free to signal to motorists at all times.
"I'm sure we can all agree upon a common sense approach that balances keeping the traffic flowing and the traffic flowing and the children crossing the road safely and happily."