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Safety warning as children start school holidays 28 July 2008

THE Department of Education is highlighting the dangers of children abusing the use of school properties during the holiday period.

The Department permits the use of school grounds for legitimate purposes in the evenings, at weekends and during holidays. However, since schools broke up for the summer last week, the Department has received reports of children playing on the roof of one building and windows being smashed at another. In both cases, police are investigating. Boy on roof

Head of Legal and Administrative Services John Gill said:

‘By abusing school grounds in this way, children are risking causing death or serious injury to themselves and others. We would urge children to stick to areas within school grounds that are safe and urge them not to climb onto walls or buildings. We would also ask anyone who sees children behaving inappropriately in school grounds to contact their local neighbourhood policing team.
‘While we want children to enjoy themselves this summer, we want them to stay safe too,’ said Mr Gill.

This year the Department joined forces with the Isle of Man Constabulary to launch a School Watch scheme at the 11 primary schools in the Eastern Neighbourhood Policing Team area. Like its sister schemes Neighbourhood Watch and Business Watch, it encourages those living near or passing by schools to report suspicious behaviour.

Inspector Helen Mason, head of the Eastern Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:

‘Outside school hours the Department of Education is kind enough to allow children to continue to use its play areas.‘It is a shame that the actions of a minority of young people, who abuse this privilege, taint the reputations of those children who enjoy the use of these grounds without causing any problems at all. These areas provide a safe place in which young people have the space and freedom to play. We would urge young people to respect school grounds and avoid any behaviour that draws negative attention to these areas.’

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