Monday, September 21, 2009

Thousands of British pupils receiving police escorts home in anti-social behaviour crackdown

What an appalling sign of social breakdown. Leftist leniency on crime bears fruit

Thousands of pupils are to have police escorts home because of a surge in youth crime. Patrols by community support officers will provide 'visible reassurance' to pupils and the public, according to Whitehall officials. The patrols started in high-risk areas four years ago and are in place in all major cities and 12 London boroughs.

To date, 65 local authorities in England have carried out 15,292 patrols covering 1,632 primary and secondary schools, according to figures from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). Some 64,017 pupils have been spoken to by officers, the figures show, and 2,497 have been referred to other services, including drug and alcohol services, or activities in their area. As about 5,000 schools already have a dedicated police officer linked to them, it means many children are effectively being policed from the start of the school day, until evening.

It is believed that police have been focusing their efforts on areas where there have been reports of violence or anti-social behaviour caused by rival gangs meeting up after school. In Wood Green, North London, extra police and support officers are on duty for three hours protecting pupils at the end of lessons. Officers based in secondaries escort children on to buses or walking home from lessons.

Ian Kibblewhite, of the Metropolitan Police, said: 'The idea of a visible presence is to keep a lid on things. 'We don't want to arrest anybody - if that happens we've failed. 'This is preventative work to stop us having to respond to trouble.'

The DCSF said it would support patrols in any area that it is deemed necessary, but added they did not expect them to be used around every school. But Will McMahon, of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College, London, warned: 'More behaviour will be criminalised.'

Government grants of up to £765,000 per district are on offer to fund the patrols.


Australia: Negligent government school: 8yo left behind on excursion -- many miles from home

SHE packed her violin, making sure it fitted snugly in its case after she finished her performance and waited for her classmates, teachers and bus to take her home. But the eight-year-old Warwick Central State School pupil sat alone crying on a Toowoomba park bench for a bus which had already left without her. “I was there by myself for about an hour,” the Year 4 pupil said yesterday.

Her mum Belinda Evans was “absolutely disgusted” when she learnt of the ordeal. “You drop your kids off to school and you think they'll be safe,” Mrs Evans said. “You don't think they'd be left behind - sobbing on a bench in Toowoomba - 40 minutes from home.”

The little girl was spotted by another Warwick Central mum who attended the Today's Youth in Music Education event on Thursday. “She recognised the Central uniform my daughter was wearing, saw her crying and alone and knew the bus had already left,” Mrs Evans said.

The Good Samaritan called Central to inform the school a little girl had been left behind and, while grateful for the woman's help, the forgotten pupil's father Brian was ropable. “The bus didn't come back (for her); a stranger drove my daughter home,” Mr Evans said. “I keep thinking 'what if?' What if that lady didn't find her?” Mrs Evans added. “When I got her back, I didn't want to let her go; let go of my baby. “Anyone could have got her, that's what scares me the most.”

The Evans' said the worst part about their daughter's ordeal was that the school was not transparent in their actions or in dealing with the situation. “They (Warwick Central SS) did not contact us (after the incident),” Mr Evans said. “There were 18 kids on the trip. They should've done a roll call or head count; don't they have procedures?”

Angry, the couple went to principal Trish Maskell for answers when their daughter was safely returned about 4pm. Unhappy with the response, Mr Evans contacted Education Queensland. According to the Evans', it will be a while before their daughter goes on another school excursion. “She has been transferred to another Warwick school next term and the first thing I asked them was if they've ever left a child behind,” Mr Evans said.

A Department of Education Queensland spokesperson yesterday confirmed they were investigating the incident at Central. “(The department) is treating the matter extremely seriously and considers it unacceptable that a student could be left behind,” the spokesperson said. “A large number of schools from across the region also took part (in the event); the department has offered its support and apologised to the student and her parents. “The Acting Executive Director Schools has been in contact with the family again (yesterday) to provide further support and an explanation of what happened. “(Warwick Central State School) is reviewing its processes around excursions and student rolls.”


Australia: One country-school classroom to cost $850,000

More "stimulus money" waste

A 9m by 6m classroom will cost a small country school $850,000 under the federal school building program, even though for only $100,000 more, the local council built a library 10 times the size.

Jerilderie Public School applied to refurbish and extend its administration block under the Building the Education Revolution, which, after approval from the NSW Education Department, added a new stand-alone classroom.

But Parents and Citizens Association president Craig Knight said the project managers appointed by the department, Laing O'Rourke, had informed the school in southern NSW last week that the $850,000 grant would now be enough to build only one classroom.

Mr Knight said the school rejected the offer of a single classroom, saying the administration block, which would include a staff room, one classroom and school offices, was the priority. He said it was unbelievable that one small building could swallow most of the school's grant.

"There are local non-government schools around the district who are getting multiple classrooms, toilet blocks, kitchenettes and covered outdoor areas for their $850,000," he said.

Mr Knight said the local council built and fitted out a library, which opened in March, that covers about 500sqm, including landscaping, toilets and kitchen for $915,000. "Our admin building only has a kitchenette, not even the plumbing associated with toilets," he said.

Answering a question on the issue in parliament yesterday from the local member, Liberal MP for Farrer, Sussan Ley, Education Minister Julia Gillard said she would look into the matter.

"I would issue these words of caution: when matters have been raised by the opposition in the past, we have frequently found that things asserted as facts are nowhere near facts," she said. "We have also frequently found, when we have tried to follow matters up with members of the opposition, or at least some of them, that they are more interested in making a political point than they are in getting matters resolved for their local schools."

Ms Gillard then read to parliament an email from a rural principal, Tony Shaw of Glen Park Primary School in Victoria, lamenting the "unprecedented" attack by the opposition to "discredit" the BER, which he said "calls into question the high-quality education provided in rural schools in a condescending and arrogant manner".

In a letter addressed to Ms Gillard from another school and tabled in the Senate last night, Abbotsford Public School council questioned the cost of a BER proposal to demolish four of the school's classrooms and replace them with four new classrooms at a cost of $2.5m.

The letter said the school community had unsuccessfully sought cost breakdowns and was "bewildered why (the NSW Education Department) employs such practices and products that are quadruple the cost of what could be obtained in the free market".

The department was unavailable for comment last night.


1 comment:

Robert said...

The letter said the school community had unsuccessfully sought cost breakdowns and was "bewildered why (the NSW Education Department) employs such practices and products that are quadruple the cost of what could be obtained in the free market".

Anyone want to bet that union labor is heavily involved?