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Dad reprimanded for letting daughter, 7, walk 20 metres alone to catch school bus

By This is Lincolnshire  |  Posted: September 13, 2010

Isabelle McCullough standing where she catches the bus, while her father, Mark, stands outside their house.

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A DAD has been reprimanded by council bosses for letting his seven-year-old daughter walk 20 metres alone to catch the bus to school.

Isabelle McCullough is a pupil at Normanby-by-Spital Primary School, near Gainsborough, and is picked up by the school bus from the top of the courtyard, where she lives in Glentham.

But dad Mark McCullough, 32, received a letter from Lincolnshire County Council on Friday saying unless Isabelle is accompanied to and from the school bus stop, the situation will be reported as a "child protection issue".

The letter states the driver feels obliged to help Isabelle safely cross Caenby Road at the end of the day, when the bus drops her on the opposite side of the road to Chapel Court.

The letter also criticises Mr McCullough for sending Isabelle to school without a jumper on Thursday morning.

Mr McCullough, who works as a refuse collector, says he or his partner Natasha Fegan, 33, are always at home when Isabelle leaves or returns from school and they listen out for the bus.

The couple have two children together and three from Mr McCullough's previous relationship, including Isabelle.

He said: "It's more than upsetting, it has made me angry. I am happy for Isabelle to walk from home to the end of the road and, if necessary, cross a country lane and walk home.

"I'm not going to wrap them up in cotton wool."

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    ALISTAIR BOOL, SWITZERLAND  |  September 22 2010, 1:20PM

    This story amused me greatly (I came across it as it was a lead item on the Today programme). We live in a town in Switzerland. In this country, it is compulsory (yes, really), for kids to walk alone to school from the age of 4. You have to sign a letter confirming that you will not drive them! Our daughter (now an experienced walker of 5) takes it for granted that she walks to school. I assume that we can look forward to the kids being taken into care the moment we land at Heathrow...

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    Kate, lincoln  |  September 17 2010, 7:35PM

    Does anyone think that child services would have done anything anyway? I doubt it very much! We need to be giving power back to the parents not take it away. The systems gone mad, each case should be assessed on it's own and not as 'carte blanche' there are lots of parents out there trying to do the best they can to bring their children up properly, but the system keeps interfering. Were not all axe-wielding abusers!!

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    alan, grantham  |  September 15 2010, 11:44AM

    Gnome, not for the first time my comments have touched a nerve, my previous post has been removed

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    Gnome Chomsky, Grantham  |  September 14 2010, 9:43PM

    Thanks for your reply Alan. The abuse happened outside the family. You are talking about a criminal offence. What was the police response to your call?

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    alan, grantham  |  September 14 2010, 8:47PM

    gnome, Im talking 15 year old school boys being photographed for his own use. LCS say its not their concern

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    Gnome Chomsky, At College  |  September 14 2010, 8:25PM

    Alan - when you talk about somebody working at a college acting inappropriately towards students, are you talking about young people above school leaving age? If so, these students are outside the scope of child protection. John, unless you can identify a social worker responsible for neglect, abuse or murder of a child, I'll stick to the opinion that the parents are the ones who have let such children down. The social workers I know work hard to protect children, usually in the face of open hostility, with increasing workloads and diminishing resources. They are pilloried when they act, pilloried when they don't. Whatever they do, they face criticism for. Sometimes mistakes are made but, let's face it, Mr McCullogh got a letter. Nobody kicked his door down, took him to court, removed his children. A measured and restrained response to concerns raised, I think.

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    John, Harold Wood, Essex.  |  September 14 2010, 4:31PM

    Social Services throughout the country have let down many chiildren who have been abused, neglected, or even murdered. Not many serving in the welfare area of children have been reprimanded or prosecuted for neglect. Cases have been covered up to protect social workers and their failure to detect children being mistreated. Yet allowing a child to walk 20 metres to get onto a bus to school is considered wrong. I had to walk to school whether I liked it or not in all weathers. No school transport was available to me. Getting back from school was a nightmare walking in the dark during the winter period. No local authority helped me or my parents. It was part of growing up!

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    Equilizer, Gainsborough  |  September 14 2010, 4:30PM

    I am a parent of 2 girls age 7 and 10 .There school is located just around the corner from there home but they are always chaperoned buy a adult family member. I am sure as a parent that the father of the child would ,much sooner be reading a warning letter from LCC than he would a death certificate. The publicity has seemingly done the trick . The father to his credit has capitulated in the realization that LCC had the best interests of his child to the fore. As for all the of the web comments that parents are capable of making decisions for there children ,if that is the case why are there so many children in care and so many children abducted and murdered every year.Well done LCC. And while we are on the subject of child protection , can you take a look at all these young children out on paper rounds every morning with bags on there backs and handlebars doing 3 or 4 paper rounds.

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    alan, grantham  |  September 14 2010, 4:01PM

    Lincs Childrens Services make me sick, they ignored a complaint about a sex offender working in a Lincolnshire College acting suspicious towards school boys then 3 months later hes arrested for sex offences needless to say LCS denied any knowledge of a complaint

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    alan, grantham  |  September 14 2010, 3:54PM

    It seems Lincs Children Services turn a blind eye to children at risk to suit them selves a sex offender working at a Lincolnshire college was acting inapropriate towards students and was reported to authorities, nothing happened then 3 months later he was arrested for sex offences commited at a previous employment, needless to say LCS and the college denied any knowledge