School bus drivers forced to reject thank you presents from children at the end of the school year
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It was a child's thoughtful gesture of thanks at the end of the school year, but ended in rejection when council rules forced a bus driver to say 'no thanks'.
The boy, who is driven to Parkside Complex Needs School in Norwich every day, offered a plant, some chocolates and a card to the minibus driver and helper on the bus, as a token of appreciation for their help over the year.
However, after making the offer on Monday morning, his grandmother Cheryl Frenneaux said they told her they had to refuse the gift, because they were not allowed to accept presents.
She said: 'They are not on high wages. They go above and beyond. They were absolutely so sorry that they could not accept the gift. They said they felt awful and embarrassed, and were upset to tell me.'
Norfolk County Council said transport staff should not exchange gifts with children as they can 'so often be misconstrued'.
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Susan Booth, head of school at Parkside, said the rule stopping bus drivers accepting a thank you gift was nothing to do with her, but the school had a blanket ban on drivers giving children gifts.
Ms Frenneaux said: 'They do a brilliant job. They are fantastic. They don't get paid a lot of money, and they go way beyond the call of duty, which makes it worse that you can't even say 'thank you'.'
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She said her grandson, who she asked not to be named, was upset by the rebuff, and added: 'If they give something to someone, they don't understand why they would not want to accept it. It was of course upsetting. It did not make any sense at all.'
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said drivers are employed by different companies, and added: 'We are sorry that a child has been upset by a driver not accepting their gift.
'It is important that transport staff keep within their professional boundaries and so we ask that as a general rule they should not exchange gifts with children, as this can so often be misconstrued.'
Ms Frenneaux added: 'I think the policy is very small minded and they are not really thinking about a bigger picture. They are thinking about rules and regulation, and not the personal impact it would have on people.'
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