A COUNCILLOR has slammed “fearmongers” who have been targeting school children at bus stops with cards showing details of anti-vaccine organisations.

Peter Atkinson, Independent Portslade councillor, said the way in which anti-vaxxers are targeting children, some as young as 13, is “completely unacceptable” and "despicable".

The most recent incident happened outside Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) in Brighton where a young woman was seen handing out the cards to children and even getting on their bus to speak to pupils.

Mark Poston, principal at PACA, has said that the school is concerned that people "unknown to students who attend PACA" are approaching them.

The school has also increased the number of teachers outside of school to keep students safe from strangers.

The card being given to children uses diplomatic language and appears measured and non-inflammatory, but the sites it refers people to are strongly anti-vaccination and do not give an objective view on the pros and cons of vaccination.

The Argus: The card links to a host of websites.The card links to a host of websites.

Peter Atkinson said: “There may well be a safeguarding issue here as flagged up by parents with the school and the police. Some of these schoolchildren are only in their early teens and for someone to be targeting them in this way is completely unacceptable.

“Vaccination is very much a personal choice decided on by the young person and their parents. For someone to try and interfere with this is frankly despicable.”

One parent who contacted the Argus said that the older children have been telling the anti-vaxxers to “leave them alone” which has made them turn to the younger year sevens and eights instead.

Mark Poston, principal at PACA said student safety is their highest priority.

He said: "Our first priority is always our students’ safety and wellbeing.

"We are concerned that people, unknown to students who attend PACA, are approaching them.  We have increased our staff presence after school to do all we can to ensure our students remain safe."

The Argus has contacted Sussex Police, and the NHS Brighton and Hove clinical commissioning group for comment.

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