STUDENTS wagging school will no longer be able to buy food and energy drinks with businesses now refusing to serve them.

Lowood businesses will not serve school aged children from 8.30am-3pm on week days unless they have a parent or appropriate adult with them in an effort to curb truancy in the regional town.

The collaborative program, initiated by the local primary and high school with support from Somerset Region Business Alliance, Somerset Regional Council and Queensland Police Service, is still in its early stages but teachers are hopeful it will succeed.

Supa IGA Lowood owner Toby Whitten will not be serving school children during school hours.
Supa IGA Lowood owner Toby Whitten will not be serving school children during school hours. Rob Williams

Lowood State High School principal of five years Anne McLauchlan said there were many reasons students were leaving school grounds.

"Truancy works in a lot of different ways," she said.

"There could be a blow up in the classroom and the child wants to leave the school, but often it's coming down town to buy drinks or food they can't get in the tuckshop.

"It's a small community and it's very easy to get from school to the shops.

 

"Sometimes it's a meeting place to meet other kids out of the school environment."

The principal said the list of businesses who have signed onto the program covered almost all of the town's food and drink vendors.

"It takes a village to raise a child but it's a really positive thing to see everyone taking responsibility for our young people, not just the ones they know," Ms McLauchlan said.

"Students are in our duty of care so if they leave that concerns us. Parents expect us to know where their children are."

Principal of Lowood State School Jordan Burke said truancy could also be an issue for students in Years 6 and below.

He said ensuring kids didn't sneak away from school to buy unhealthy snacks was also a big driver for the program.

"We provide breakfast and healthy choices for the kids," he said.

"The agreement helps everybody to support our kids' health, education and safety."

 

Supa IGA Lowood owner Toby Whitten (middle) will not be serving school children during school hours with the support of Lowood officer in charge, Troy Salton, Lowood State School principal Jordan Burke, Lowood State High School local school principal Anne McLauchlan, and Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann
Supa IGA Lowood owner Toby Whitten (middle) will not be serving school children during school hours with the support of Lowood officer in charge, Troy Salton, Lowood State School principal Jordan Burke, Lowood State High School local school principal Anne McLauchlan, and Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann Rob Williams

Supa IGA Lowood's Toby Whitten is one of the business owners who will refuse service to school-aged children.

Although it will mean he sacrifices sales, the business owner said the program would have a long-term benefit.

"It is a sacrifice but we do have a problem with students loitering in the store when they should be at school.

"In return (refusing service) saves us that hassle and saves us ringing the police if we do have some of those students steal from us," he said.

"There is an influx between 8.20am and 8.45am where there are that many kids in here that we have to come out and watch them so it's taking up my time and my staff members' time to make sure they do the right thing.

"We will refuse them service and tell them they should be in school.

"It's a shame we have to go to this extent to keep kids in school.

"A lot of that goes back to the parents so hopefully they see what we're trying to do and support it."



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