Education Minister Grace Grace is urging community members to continue keeping a close watch on schools over the holidays to help protect them from would-be thieves, vandals and arsonists.
“We might be over half-way through the holidays but we need to remain vigilant because our schools are our most precious community assets and we all have a role to play in keeping them safe,” Ms Grace said.
“We are calling on vigilant community members to report anything suspicious they may see or hear at our schools over the holidays.
“Of course we also have a range of targeted measures in place to protect our schools over the holidays, including intruder detection devices, alarms and 24-hour monitoring and surveillance by police, Protective Services and private security firms.
“School security patrols will be a regular sight in many areas throughout the state during the summer break.
“In 2017-18 the State Government has allocated more than $9 million to the School Security Program to help reduce security-related incidents in schools.”
Ms Grace said the School Watch Hotline received 844 reports in 2017, or an average of 70 reports per month from diligent community members, who reported suspicious activities in school grounds.
“Attentive residents and community members provide an invaluable boost to our existing security measures,” she said.
“Recently a passer-by reported a fire at Gatton State School by calling the School Watch hotline, which then led to Emergency Services being alerted.
“This man’s very early actions meant fire crews were able to respond quickly to prevent the fire from spreading throughout the entire classroom block.
“I would encourage others to also call the School Watch Hotline on 13 17 88 or police if they notice anything suspicious.
“We don’t want taxpayers’ significant investment in our school buildings compromised by vandalism, resulting in further investment to rectify needless damage.
“More importantly, we want our communities to remain safe and secure for people living in close proximity to schools and for staff and students who use these facilities during the school year.”
The School Watch Hotline is 13 17 88 and the service is operated 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
Queensland state schools will be closed until Sunday 21 January 2018.
Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Grace Grace