Businesses and the community asked to work together as Keeping Kids in School campaign launches in Albany

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Supt Ian Clarke, rear, with Alison Ramm, Damien Yarran and students Adele Douglass and Anna Rowe.
Camera IconSupt Ian Clarke, rear, with Alison Ramm, Damien Yarran and students Adele Douglass and Anna Rowe. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Albany businesses are being urged to help give kids the best chance of a bright future by refusing to serve them during school hours.

A team of local agencies is working behind the scenes on the Keeping Kids in School campaign to make sure children get a full education.

WA Police, the Department of Education, the Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the City of Albany, the Baldjamaar Foundation and local businesses have come together to increase school attendance and reduce juvenile crime.

Stores are being urged to put a Keeping Kids in School poster in their window and refuse service to children during school hours.

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Great Southern Police Supt Ian Clarke said the campaign was a demonstration of the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”.

“If the community can get on board and be part of this project, it means that we can use the village that we have here to raise kids to be positive citizens in the future,” Supt Clarke said.

“Stores and shops are the sort of place that kids go and hang around. Young people have things happening in their lives that take them away from school for whatever reason, and that in the long term leads to poor social behaviour.

“It can lead to crime, they can enter drugs — all of those contributing factors that damage our society start at those points, so it’s about the earliest intervention that we can have to bring those young people and figuratively get our arms around them to support them.”

Southwest Education Region executive director Alison Ramm said if a child missed a day of school every fortnight, they would miss out on about a year of their education.

“Attendance is an important contributor to a student’s academic and social achievement — all school days matter,” Ms Ramm said.

“If a child misses an average of one day a fortnight, they miss out on approximately one year of school.

“Support from the local community in not serving compulsory age students during the school day is an effective strategy to reduce truancy and improve student attendance,” Ms Ramm said.

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