"A gobsmacked parent has been rapped over the knuckles for allowing their children to ride or walk to school on their own in a rural Queensland town.
Police from Miles, 200km west of Toowoomba in Queensland, have taken the controversial step of fining parents whose children, under the age of 12, have been making their own way to and from primary school.
The extreme act comes after police were shocked at the number of students under 12 walking or riding to school unsupervised during regularly patrols of the primary school zones in the town of just 1,800 people at the start of this school term.
Before you jump up and down about the thought of being charged for such an offence – it gets worse. You could even do time for the alleged crime.
Parents can face up to three years behind bars “for not taking reasonable steps to ensure children under 12 are properly supervised” according to Queensland law.
What a magnificent use of police resources.
Police have even distributed a stern flyer throughout the tight-knit community. One outraged mother sharing it on Facebook, and it was shared thousands of times online.
It states that kids “under 12 cannot walk or ride to school alone, there must be some level of supervision”.
“Blatant disregard for this responsibility has already led to criminal charges against a parent in Miles and others could easily face prosecution,” the flyer says.
“We are determined to provide the safest possible environment for our kids and our community and we ask everyone to play their part.”
Miles Sergeant Benjamin Wiltshire clarified just exactly what these “reasonable steps to ensure children are properly supervised” actually means.
“There’s a different expectation for 11 year olds than there is for a five or six year old - that’s common sense - and a lot of this comes down to what’s reasonable,” he told 2GB.
“It actually says in the legislation that whether the time or distance is unreasonable depends on all of the relevant circumstances
“So if you’re riding across the road or 100 metres to the school on a pushbike with a group of 11 year olds is certainly a different case to a five or six year old walking across town completely unsupervised.” "