The Mother was standing in the playground with a group of parents who were waiting for their children to finish at Bessie Street School one afternoon in November 2009. When Becky McDonald arrived to collect Amy Barlow, she stood and lit up a cigarette which angered the woman and she pointed out the newly erected sign in the playground which read: "Please refrain from smoking outside these school premises".

With the woman explaining that a few of the parents objected to their children breathing in smoke, Becky stubbed out her cigarette on the ground and was soon told in no uncertain terms to pick it up. By the time that the woman told Becky that she hoped they wouldn't have to have the same conversation again, Claire Peacock had also arrived to pick up son Joshua and as she went back to her group of friends, Claire suggested to Becky that they should erect their own sign: "No bullying by parents".

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