Principal Defends Port Kennedy School After Students Go Missing��

A PORT Kennedy school principal said suggestions that two of its Year 2 students simply “walked out the front gate” were not accurate and standard protocols were adhered to.

In a statement to the Courier, St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School principal Steve Gibbs said supervising teachers did as much as could be expected to supervise the two students, and the incident would be discussed further among staff at the school’s next staff meeting.

Last week the Courier received a letter from an anonymous parent of students at the school who was concerned that the two students had disappeared without attracting attention.

The students allegedly left the school grounds after morning recess and were missing for between one to two hours before being found at Warnbro Shopping Centre, about 2.2km from the school.

The letter further outlined that the students’ absence was not noted until “the rest of the Year 2 classes returned to their seats after recess”.

“Our standard protocols of playground supervision were adhered to during the recess period,” Mr Gibbs said.

“The students took the opportunity to leave the supervised area at the end of playtime, a situation which could not reasonably have been foreseen by the supervising teachers.

“When the children were identified as missing, the school enacted our emergency management plan.”

Mr Gibbs wrote to parents on the day of the incident to inform them of what had happened, and to encourage them to discuss with their children the importance of them remaining on school grounds.

“Classroom teachers also reinforced this message and the importance of playing and remaining in supervised areas while at school,” Mr Gibbs said.

He said a decision was made not to raise the issue at its whole school assembly so as not to raise unnecessary alarm or embarrass the families concerned.