DAN'S MESSAGE: Amelia Whiting, Lochie Griffiths and Kastell Smith learned to 'Recognise, React & Report' at Gatton.
DAN'S MESSAGE: Amelia Whiting, Lochie Griffiths and Kastell Smith learned to 'Recognise, React & Report' at Gatton. Melanie Keyte

Day for Daniel puts kids' safety in the spotlight

FIFTEEN years after Daniel Morcombe was abducted, schoolyards filled with red to honour his memory and prove some good could come of the tragedy which shocked the state.

October 27 was the day the 13-year-old disappeared from a bus stop on the Sunshine Coast and is now remembered as Day for Daniel to spread awareness of children's safety.

Gatton State School student leader Josh Ilka said although he felt sad about Daniel's death, he thought it was a good idea to talk about the dangers out there.

"So we can prevent it happening again and keep everyone safe,” he said.

Curriculum and behavioural support teacher Jack Wright said he'd personally seen the difference Day for Daniel had made in schools.

"The emphasis has been on recognising the danger signals and having a plan for when you're not safe,” he said.

"What we're trying to do is just to start those conversations.”

Schools around Australia also tuned in to a live-streamed safety lesson by the Morcombe Foundation in the morning, which focussed on Daniel's message of Recognise, React, Report.

Hayden Manning, Isabella Burow and Gabrielle Thompson at Withcott.
Hayden Manning, Isabella Burow and Gabrielle Thompson at Withcott. Melanie Keyte

Withcott State School students said they enjoyed the lesson but appreciated the seriousness of learning to detect when something was wrong.

Year 5 student leader Hayden Manning believed it was important to learn Daniel's message because "it could happen to anybody” while Year 4 leader Isabella Burow recognised they were doing the lessons so "they didn't get hurt”.

Teacher Traci Cash said amongst the Foundation's most valuable work was the focus on kids' bodily autonomy.

"It's was important for kids to understand that they need to trust themselves, trust their instincts and react,” she said.

"We're telling them they're not powerless.”


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