Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Parents pull kids from school amid pedophile fears

ALMOST 60 students of Queensland's Carbrook and Mt Cotton primary schools stayed home yesterday because their parents were worried they would be targeted by pedophile Dennis Ferguson.
One in every six children at Carbrook failed to attend on the first day back after the mid-year holidays.

Cornubia mother Jo Hyslop said she kept her eight-year-old daughter at home because she wanted to know she was safe and was happy she was not alone.

"I think it sends a strong message to politicians that nobody wants him (Ferguson) in our community. This is not the right area for him," she said.

But Ms Hyslop said after meeting with Carbrook's principal yesterday afternoon she would "review" her decision to keep her daughter at home.

Mother of four Sharon Powell decided to send her boys to school but supported parents who had boycotted the schools.

"They're not sleeping at night properly so it's better to keep them there through the day with their minds off it," she said.

Another Carbrook parent, Louise Kelly, said she struggled with the decision to send her children to school.

"I don't believe the kids are in danger at the school but my reason for keeping them off would be for a protest against the fact that Dennis Ferguson has been housed in the area," she said.

"I also don't think I should use my kids as a tool for a protest because they're the innocent ones."

Fellow parent Donna Peck said she had absolutely no hesitation in sending her children to school and criticised other parents for instilling their children with fear.

"I makes me angry to hear parents say their kids can't sleep at night because of Ferguson. It's because of the hysteria they've created about him," she said.

"It's the pedophiles we can't see we should be worried about."

Education Minister Rod Welford said children were safest at school and urged parents not to keep their youngsters at home.

"They would be greatly disadvantaged by missing out on school.

"School is the best and safest place in Queensland no matter where they are," he said.

"Students are supervised under a duty of care by teachers throughout Queensland in every state and non-state school."


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