Ripple effect of closing rural college
What happens when Moora Residential College closes, as Labour states it will?
Where do those students, current and upcoming, go to school?
Do they have to leave their home/farm/town/community and go to Perth and board away from home?
Schooling and living in the city is not always the right choice for every child and can create large amounts of stress.
Even with children who are comfortable with boarding, city life is still a big adjustment and generally takes time to settle in.
Feelings of stress and anxiety can occur in the meantime.
What must it be like for those who really don’t want to and/or aren’t ready to board in Perth, the impact on their health, both physically and mentally can be huge and have longstanding impacts.
It can also affect those left behind, mum, dad and siblings have to readjust the family dynamics which can sometimes alter for the worst.
Does the mum go to Perth, rent a house and the kids attend a school as a day student?
Additional costs of rent, fuel, extra car and living expenses will have an impact on the family and business budgets.
Sense of loss within the family structure, children missing dad, husband and wife separated and the difficulties that can come from that.
The mum having to become both parents at least from Monday to Friday.
Dad beginning to feel that he doesn’t know or be able to have a say in what happens during the week with his family.
Dad looking after himself, working a full day (and more at busy times on the farm and/or business) while also keeping up with those ongoing domestic jobs that never go away.
Trying to get down to Perth on weekends to see the family, which doesn’t always work. Mum and the kids can’t always come home every weekend, especially when the children are involved with weekend sport and activities.
The whole structure and framework around what constitutes a family in today’s society is fractured and will sometimes never recover.
The gradual loss of touch with other family members and friends within the community.
Do the families have to leave their town/farm to school the kids in Perth? Dad and mum looking for other jobs. Costs of relocating and adjustment. Loss of families within the community. Loss of businesses.
Loss of schools and towns, Not only a monetary issue, but I feel the biggest is a mental health one. In all of the scenarios above, people are impacted mentally, and stress, anxiety and depression can result.
What does this lead to? Larger numbers of people requiring Medical assistance, organisations that are already understaffed and under budgeted for. Depression untreated, misunderstood and unmanaged can lead to suicide.
We already know the rates of suicide rurally is sadly high.
It doesn’t take much to reverse a decision, just some pain old-fashioned common sense.
But it does take a lot to recover from what will become one of the worst and largely impacted decisions made against our rural communities in this State if you don’t.