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  • Cairns Police debunk fake social media post warning parents about unaccompanied school journeys


    Don't believe everything you read on Facebook.

    That's the message from Cairns Police as a fake notice about a police crackdown on parents who let their kids walk to school unaccompanied has been doing the rounds on social media.

    The notice, which keeps popping up in news feeds after being circulated for the first time last year, warns parents can be charged under section 364A of the Criminal Code of Queensland.

    "Police conduct regular patrols of the primary school to ensure the safety of children at the school, and on their way to and from school," the fake notice reads.

    "In the first few weeks of this term, police have noticed a number of children under the age of 12 walking or riding to school without any proper supervision.

    "Kids under 12 cannot walk or ride to school alone, there must be some level of supervision."

    The notice claims "a parent in Miles" (in the Darling Downs) faces criminal charges for "blatant disregard" for the law.

    Cairns Police senior constable Heidi Marek said the notice was not issued by Queensland Police.

    The notice quotes from the Criminal Code, which states "a person who, having the lawful care or charge of a child under 12 years, leaves the child for an unreasonable time without making reasonable provision for the supervision and care of the child during that time commits a misdemeanour - maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment".

    Snr Const Marek told TropicNow that section of the Criminal Code contained in the fake notice is correct, but it was highly unlikely to apply to trips to school.

    "Each case is considered on an individual basis," she said. "I’m not in the Child Protection Unit but I would be inclined to suggest that any charges proffered against this legislation would be for children left alone for an extended period of time with the existence on some level for the potential for harm or that some form of harm has happened to the child.

    "The legislation states ‘unreasonable time’, so we would be hard pressed to prosecute against a trip to school. This form is not something we have provided comment on, it doesn’t look official enough for me and the tone of the form is not something that would be generally issued by police or approved by police media."