Backing for Heriot’s head over parking row with parents

Online comments have backed the warning from Cameron Wyllie. Picture: Deadline News/Wullie Marr
Online comments have backed the warning from Cameron Wyllie. Picture: Deadline News/Wullie Marr
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SUPPORTERS have taken to social media to back the head of a leading Capital private school who labelled parents “careless and selfish” when parking illegally to pick up their children.

The Evening News reported yesterday how George Heriot’s principal Cameron Wyllie wrote to parents after some had verbally abused local residents.

His warning to avoid creating “contentious and potentially dangerous” situations outside the £11,600-a-year school prompted calls for other heads to speak out.

City of Edinburgh Council Greens spokeswoman Melanie Main said: “It’s right for headteachers to take the same stance when parents park and drive irresponsibly around schools. But it will take more than a few stern letters. Schools have to think about how they incentivise pupils to travel to school in other ways.”

She added: “The problem of congestion and dangerous parking from children being driven to school is an issue for many communities, which is why the council has a new scheme to restrict access in nearby streets for some of its own schools at the start and end of the school day,”

Many people backed Mr Wyllie after reading our story. “Totally agree,” Keith Lockhart posted online. “The parking around schools is shocking here in Midlothian.”

Sarah Watt agreed, saying: “This happens at every school I’ve been to – it’s disgraceful. There’s no end to what people will do to get a wee bit nearer to the school gate.”

In his letter to parents, Mr Wyllie recalled cases of a school neighbour being “verbally abused” and a parent enduring “unpleasant sexist abuse”.

Mr Wyllie added: “At Heriot’s, we are committed to maintaining good relations with our neighbours in our city centre site, and to ensuring the health and safety of our pupils.

“We are very sorry and a very small minority of our parents, through careless and selfish parking, continue to jeopardise these objectives.”

Suggestions on social media to solve the problem ranged from employing parking attendants to banning cars from outside schools altogether.

Lollipop lady Margaret Whitley posted a stark warning for parents: “I can assure you the dangers of taking children across between cars parked illegally is taking your life and theirs in your hands. If there is no crossing patrol then the child is really in danger.”

An eyewitness said: “One mother actually left her car parked on zig-zag lines and then went off to talk to another parent, leaving her car parked.

“Other parents were parked on corners and traffic had to stop at points to let oncoming buses and cars through.”