Police escorts for teachers in town of chaos

An aerial view of Aurukun in Queensland.
An aerial view of Aurukun in Queensland.

Police will provide security escorts for teachers in Aurukun, Queensland, after a school principal was carjacked and threatened with weapons for the second time in two weeks.

Teachers were evacuated from the troubled Cape York community a fortnight ago, after principal Scott Fatnowna was carjacked by armed teenagers.

Fatnowna was again carjacked by band of armed teens on Saturday but the Queensland Teachers Union says he and other teachers have opted to stay this time, under a new regime that will see police and private security guards escort them when necessary.

Police say Fatnowna's government car was stolen and taken on a joyride before it was bogged outside the Cape York town on Saturday night. Three teens have since been charged.

After the principal was carjacked by a group of teens armed with an axe this month 25 teachers were evacuated on safety grounds.

"Teachers will notify when they're travelling between residences, around the community, to and from school," QTU president Kevin Bates said.

"If there's awareness by police or (education department) security teams of unrest in the community, people may be escorted just to ensure they've got some protection when travelling around."

Northern Region Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Taylor told the Courier-Mail the incidents had nothing to do with family or community tensions.

"This is an individual that has shown a great lot of commitment to the community, particularly in the education of the youth," he said.

"We don't believe that he is being targeted because of who he is, I think he has been targeted because he has been present when they are roaming around."

During the first carjacking two weeks ago, the principal was forced to hand over his vehicle when he went to the aid of other teachers concerned about youths loitering outside their school compound accommodation.

Residential security has since been upgraded, including better fencing and the installation of panic buttons.

The latest incident comes as a high-level government delegation arrives in the town for talks today with Aurukun elders and community leaders.

The delegation, including the premier's own director-general, will meet elders, and the government says the safety of education workers remains of paramount concern.

"I am told the school will remain open tomorrow and classes will resume as normal," Indigenous Affairs Minister Curtis Pitt said on Sunday.

"The officials will continue discussions with Mayor Dereck Walpo and importantly will meet with the women of Aurukun to hear first-hand their proposed solutions to unrest and the community's future."

- AAP

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