Hills students encouraged to understand the law

Partnership: The Hills local area command's youth liaison officer Senior Constable Rob Paterson with Castle Hill Public School principal Steve Connelly. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Partnership: The Hills local area command's youth liaison officer Senior Constable Rob Paterson with Castle Hill Public School principal Steve Connelly. Picture: Gene Ramirez

POLICING and education cross paths each year at the Police and Principals' Forums. On May 15, more than 20 students will discuss their concerns with the police and youth services in Castle Hill.

"It's a good way of schools getting useful information from the police and police learning about what concerns schools," The Hills police youth liaison officer, Senior Constable Rob Paterson, said.

"This year we have guest speakers talking about issues such as how to deal with aggressive parents and how to report to police if something happens."

He said they would also discuss how schools should deal with domestic violence and mental health matters among students.

"The big thing at the moment is cyber safety," Senior Constable Paterson said.

"We're talking to principals about ways to deal with bullying in social media; what to advise kids and their parents to do."

A teacher at a high school in The Hills command, who wished to remain anonymous, said the forums have helped staff navigate the sometimes difficult tension between school rules and children's rights.

"School staff may have to occasionally inspect students' bags or take statements from them," he said.

"We may suspect a student is carrying a knife, so what do we do?

"Where does the law stand in regard to all this?"

He said even relatively mundane matters, such as asking students' parents not to park their cars in bus zones when collecting their children, could have legal implications.

Senior Constable Paterson said the forums also provided ideas for early intervention strategies on preventing youth crime.

■ Police and Principals' Forum: Pioneer Room, Castle Grand, corner of Castle and Pennant streets, Castle Hill, 9.30am to noon, Thursday, May 15.

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