‘Teachers are not babysitters’
TEACHERS are not babysitters.
That was the message from parents at a Logan state primary school who were told last week they would have to pay to drop children off before 8.30am.
The move initially sparked concerns from working parents with children at Burrowes State School in Third Ave, Marsden.
But today, new school principal Kristine Sleeth Lemon was given top marks for the measure, set to start in Term 4 on October 8.
She sent home an email telling parents on-site before-school care would cost upwards of $2.60 per child starting next term.
Parents rallied behind the school, saying "teachers are not babysitters" and the measures were a small price to pay for children's safety.
One parent, Gail Kelsey, said she agreed with the before-school program.
"Some parents just dump their children there to get rid of them," she said.
"Not all of them are working mothers. I do think $100 a month is a bit much.
"If they are fed breakfast prior going to school, then they shouldn't have to pay a fee for breakfast again. But children have to be safe."
Another parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said the fee varied depending on whether the parent was eligible for Centrelink payments.
"It varies for parents who have lower incomes according to Centrelink," she said.
"Most working parents are charged closer to full rates (like childcare) which is around $12 to $15 before school and around $16 to $18 after school.
"Also, if you drop off after 7.30am-ish, they have stopped breakfast.
"So if you're working, it costs around $20 to $30 a day per child. It gets very expensive if you only need 20 minutes of care."
In her email, Ms Sleeth Lemon said before-school care would "be offered by KDK at a very small price for parents who work or have appointments and need to have their children cared for - they also feed your child/children breakfast within the cost. Prices starting from $2.60 per child."
The school told parents the new opening time of 8.30am would be patrolled from Term 4, which starts on Monday, October 8.
The email, sent to parents on September 3, said the change was for the safety of students on school grounds and followed similar rules in nearby schools which had "recorded reduced incidents of behaviour" before school as a result.
Parent Cherie Thompson said the new rule was "extremely unfair" to working parents.
"As a working parent, I find it extremely unfair that the school is suggesting I find an additional $100 a month so I can pay for before school care for my child especially considering that there has always been supervision from 8am at the playground courts," Ms Thompson said.
"I will continue to drop my daughter off to school each day by 8am and understand that she may be unsupervised prior to 8.30am. However, I would hope that due to my work and the fact that I can't afford additional care for her that there will be no consequences for her."
Education Queensland said principals, in consultation with the school community, made the decision.
"If parents have concerns about issues at their children's school, they are encouraged to speak directly to the principal," the department said.