SCHOOL BUS SUPERVISION NECESSARY FOR CHILD SAFETY
10 March 2023
The safety of Queensland school children aboard school buses should be the highest priority according to Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and State Member for Hinchinbrook, Nick Dametto who is calling for all school buses to have an adult chaperone on board who can assist bus drivers and supervise behaviour and activities on board.
The calls come after the Hinchinbrook MP said he had received a noticeable spike in complaints from concerned parents regarding issues surrounding school bus safety as well as an incident earlier this week where it was reported that more than 15 primary school children suffered mysterious health issues after consuming lollies onboard a Townsville school bus.
“For as long as I can remember, Queensland school kids have traditionally travelled for long periods of time on school buses without any direct adult supervision and here in parts of regional Queensland that can be anywhere from half an hour up to three or more hours per day,” Mr Dametto said.
“Schools and day-care centres have to comply with strict legislative staff to student ratios to ensure that children of specific ages and in particular numbers are correctly supervised.
“To have children almost completely unsupervised as soon as they leave the school gates is entirely at odds with the high standards of care we deserve and expect when it comes to keeping kids safe.
“School buses transport unsupervised kids from as young as prep through to older teenagers 17 or 18 years of age. On an ordinary day, no parent would voluntarily put their young child in that situation yet if the situation applies to a school bus environment, that somehow makes it acceptable.”
Mr Dametto said there was something fundamentally flawed about the concept of such young children being confined in the company of older teenagers for any amount of time and it was a situation that school bus drivers should not be given the responsibility of overseeing.
“Society has changed and so to must the measures we set in place to protect vulnerable children.