Parents’ car parking row causes Romford school lockdown

Police were called to Rise Park after disputes between parents after school.

Police were called to Rise Park after disputes between parents after school. - Credit: Archant

Worried teachers placed a Romford primary school in lockdown after a dozen police officers were called over an ongoing parking row at the school gates.

Officers anticipating a breach of the peace lay in wait for parents to arrive at Rise Park Infants and Junior School on Tuesday afternoon.

The dispute had escalated the previous day after one parent, Christopher Sorhaindo, was allowed to park inside the school to pick up his son to avoid a confrontation with other parents.

On Tuesday he believed there would be a protest at the school gates and he turned up with about 10 friends just before 3pm.

Frustrated parents waited for up to 45 minutes outside the school gates for their children to leave while police talked to Mr Sorhaindo and other parents. But infants headteacher Carolyn Fox insisted children from her school were let out after 15 minutes.

As they left, some looked bewildered and frightened as they noticed the police officers and cars.

Mr Sorhaindo said: “I thought there was going to be a protest so I brought my friends with me. I feel like I’m being bullied by the other parents.”

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One mum said: “Our kids have been kept in after school, and for what reason?

“Who turns up to a school with his gang of friends? Is he trying to intimidate the other parents?”

Another mum said: “This has been going on for ages and is ridiculous. It started off over parking, and now the police have ended up here. My kids came out of school and were scared. This shouldn’t be happening in front of young children.”

A mum said: “My children have come out of school looking scared and asking me what is going on. How do I tell them it’s an argument between the parents?”

Rise Park Junior School headteacher Kate Sisman said: “Following an incident outside the school gates, children were kept slightly later than usual while the situation was dealt with by the police. The children at our school are completely safe at all times.

“No form of threatening behaviour is acceptable and it will not be tolerated.”

She said police were investigating and a letter had been sent to parents to remind them of their responsibilities.