POLICE officers assigned to dealing with delinquency in schools handled 2'160 cases during the last academic year, the majority of which related to unauthorised absenteeism (32.2 percent), reported the regional Public Safety Institute yesterday.
During the 2008 to 2009 academic year, 148 schools and colleges in the Balearics catering for more than 43'000 pupils were able to benefit from the so-called police tutor. These officers not only take action where there may have been direct incidents of law breaking - such as drug taking by students - but also take on an educational and preventive role. He or she investigates cases where absenteeism from school may be caused by factors unrelated to academic work, such as domestic violence or bullying. The Institute's report shows that the police tutors spent 1'462 hours educating more than 19'000 students throughout the Balearics on the dangers of drug taking and alcohol consumption, how not to be drawn into gangland activity and advice on road safety. Apart from classroom chats, the tutors take cycle routes across the school premises, engage with pupils in recreation grounds and patrol the corridors between classes - a notorious moment for the clandestine sale of narcotics amongst students.
A special acknowledgement of the position of the police tutor is that it has now been credited with the internationally recognised ISO 9001 quality certificate.