Sebastopol parents patrol school grounds for signs of trouble

Parent patrols are helping keep Sebastopol Primary School safe and free of graffiti and vandalism.

SCHOOL PATROL: Sebastopol Primary School principal Michelle Wilson and school council president Jason Filcock at the school where parents perform regular patrols during school holidays. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

SCHOOL PATROL: Sebastopol Primary School principal Michelle Wilson and school council president Jason Filcock at the school where parents perform regular patrols during school holidays. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

A roster of parents keep watch over the school grounds during school holidays and outside school hours with regular but random visits helping deter would-be wrongdoers and ensuring any damage that does occur is quickly repaired.

Rostered parents visit the school grounds each day and report back to school leaders or contact security if anything is amiss.

The program has helped reduce damage at the school and ensure the children feel safe and able to learn effectively.

“We have a roster of parents who come and walk around the school grounds and we make sure someone does it each day,” said principal Michelle Wilson.

The Parents on Patrol program was the brainchild of a former school council member who worked for a security company.  Not only do parents make regular unscheduled visits to the school grounds, neighbours also look out for potential problems.

“Being a primary school most of our parents are very local or are neighbours, but older community members who are neighbours are very vigilant too,” Ms Wilson said.

“We have got a really good parent community here. They are all very positive about our school and that’s part of the way they support us. It’s all about being able to focus on the learning without having the worry about these other issues.

“It’s just something we do as a school community to keep our school grounds secure and safe so they are in a good state for kids. We don’t have any particular issue.”

School council president Jason Filcock said any damage or vandalism found during patrols could be repaired before children returned to school, rather than waiting for the first day of term to uncover any problems.

“We come across something now and again, but the beauty is we can either fix or prevent it.

“Some people can put vulgar stuff on the wall and kids don’t need to see that, so to have the opportunity to get rid of that before they come to school is positive and then they don’t feel their area has been abused.”

Depending on the time of year, parents sometimes added extra chores to their patrol with watering the school vegetable garden and trees a must during summer.

“We just feel it is a good idea to keep and eye on the school and have a presence at the school, and to engage people who play in the school ground to welcome them to the community and school.”

Mr Filcock said it also meant parent fundraising was directed toward resources for the school’s 85 students rather than repairs.