Po­lice play part in tru­ancy ac­tion plan

Pilbara News - - News - ■ Court­ney Fowler

A new ini­tia­tive to com­bat tru­ancy in Mar­ble Bar has had star­tling re­sults, with school records show­ing a rise in av­er­age at­ten­dance from 75 to 90 per cent since its in­tro­duc­tion last month.

In Fe­bru­ary, Mar­ble Bar po­lice teamed with Mar­ble Bar Pri­mary School and other lo­cal agen­cies in­clud­ing the Depart­ment of Child Pro­tec­tion and Depart­ment of Hu­man Ser­vices to raise dwin­dling at­ten­dance fig­ures dur­ing term 1.

Sergeant Todd D’Souza said tru­ancy had been an on­go­ing chal­lenge in the com­mu­nity, with chil­dren as young as six reg­u­larly not at­tend­ing school.

“For many it boils down to lazi­ness on be­half of the par­ents and not know­ing the big­ger pic­ture and the im­pacts on their child’s fu­ture,” he said.

“The prin­ci­pal had con­cerns about a cou­ple of fam­i­lies in par­tic­u­lar who were just ro­tat­ing kids. Be­tween my­self, the school prin­ci­pal, DCP and so­cial se­cu­rity ser­vices, we de­cided we would work to­gether to se­cure th­ese kids’ fu­ture.”

Sgt D’Souza said the co-or­di­nated ap­proach had seen in­stant re­sults, with at­ten­dance raised across Mar­ble Bar Pri­mary School for three con­sec­u­tive weeks.

He said the key to the ini­tia­tive’s suc­cess was tak­ing a proac­tive ap­proach to ad­dress the un­der­ly­ing is­sues pre­vent­ing young peo­ple from stay­ing in school.

“I have no prob­lem knock­ing on ev­ery door to clar­ify a child’s where­abouts when they don’t turn up to school,” he said.

“I have been work­ing with other agen­cies to ed­u­cate par­ents on the over­all im­pacts of miss­ing out on education and how th­ese bad habits are re­strict­ing kids from fur­ther education and job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“We have also been em­pha­sis­ing to the com­mu­nity that so­cial se­cu­rity has a tru­ancy pol­icy which af­fects pay­ments and this has been a great backup for us.

“Word has def­i­nitely got around that we are tak­ing a se­ri­ous ap­proach to tru­ancy … we are slowly chang­ing the mind­set of the com­mu­nity, which is a real credit to the par­ents and agen­cies in­volved.”

Education Depart­ment Pil­bara re­gional ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Neil Darby said schools worked hard to boost at­ten­dances but could not curb tru­ancy with­out the full sup­port of par­ents and other agen­cies.

Sgt D’Souza warned the ini­tia­tive would re­main suc­cess­ful only if par­ents and com­mu­nity mem­bers con­tin­ued to take own­er­ship of the tru­ancy prob­lem.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.