Tim Long from Long’s Crescent Road One Stop Shop with Gympie High principal Murray Wegner and one of the leave passes students will have to present to prove they are not wagging school.
Tim Long from Long’s Crescent Road One Stop Shop with Gympie High principal Murray Wegner and one of the leave passes students will have to present to prove they are not wagging school. Renee Pilcher

Gympie shops join war on wagging

TRUANCY has become such a problem at many schools that Gympie State High has taken the bold step of offering incentives to local businesses to help get it under control.

The first business to sign up is Long's Crescent Road One Stop Shop, a nearby convenience store that is a popular destination for high-school kids when they "wag it".

Students in uniform will not be served during school hours unless they can produce a leave pass that includes their name and photograph, and a reason for not being at school.

The businesses will be rewarded by being promoted in Gympie High's newsletter and on its Facebook page, which has 1000 followers and frequently reaches more than 1500 people.

"Gympie State High School has over 100 years' experience educating children," principal Murray Wegner said yesterday.

"The educational challenges facing the children we educate today, however, are vastly different from those of previous generations.

"In our region, and in many other regions across Australia, student attendance is a major issue. This has led to the Education Department implementing the Every Day Counts campaign."

Mr Wegner said the school had initiated a number of strategies to tackle truancy, including text message alerts for parents and public education campaigns through its Facebook page and newsletter.

"We are seeking support from businesses across Gympie to reduce the attraction of leaving the school grounds during the day," Mr Wegner said.

"If students who are truanting from school are not able to access local businesses then perhaps the desire to leave will be diminished.

"They say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe it will take a collective community effort to improve school attendance rates and reduce school truancy across our region.

"I am hopeful that with support from the businesses within our community we can send a clear message to students and parents that when it comes to education, every day counts."

What do you think? Will the incentives help bring truancy under control? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Gympie Times


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