Yarloop’s children played in their school playground for the first time on Friday since the devastating fires that gutted Yarloop in January.
However, it wasn’t due to the school reopening, but as a protest against the Department of Education’s decision to keep Yarloop Primary School closed due to a lack of students.
There are currently 34 children enrolled for the next school year.
Jo Hooper’s children were students at Yarloop Primary School before the fires, following the footsteps of their grandfather and their mother who also studied at the school.
“My dad’s come here, I’ve come here, my two children go here,” Ms Hooper said.
“Our school should’ve been a priority.
“As soon as we got the OK to come back here, and all the danger of the asbestos is out, our kids should’ve been back here.
“There’s no reason why we can’t come back in 2017.”
After the fires, the students from Yarloop were sent to school in Harvey and placed in temporary classrooms.
Yarloop resident Catherine Price said the classrooms are more of a compound than a room, there’s hardly any space for the children to play outside and there’s no shade for hot summer days.
Ms Hooper agreed.
“We’ve been moved to Harvey, and fenced off like a detention centre,” she said.
Primary School student Hannah Van Dam said she misses the school.
“We are caged in a little area,” she said.
“We’ve got a bigger area to play and bigger playgrounds [in Yarloop].”
She said if she could ask anything to the state government it would be ”if we can come back to Yarloop school”.
On Friday morning, Yarloop residents gathered at the primary school to hang up protest banners against the Department of Education’s decision.
Parents organised games and activities for the children, who had the chance to enjoy their old school again for a few hours.
Ms Price said the parents aren’t surrendering, and a school with 34 children is still viable.
“It’s not fair that the education department thinks that there’s not enough numbers, I went to a high school of eight kids,” she said.
“The town was only opened four or five months ago, you have to give it time to let the community rebuild, let the people come back to town.
“If I didn’t care about the kids going to Yarloop Primary there’s two schools in Waroona I could send them to, but this is a special school, with special teachers.”
‘Yarloop Primary School is the heart of the community’, the banners read.
Murray-Wellington MP Murray Cowper called on education minister Peter Collier to overrule the decision to keep the school closed.
"The primary objective of the government must be the restoration of normality to the young students who have been extraordinarily traumatised by the fires earlier this year," he said.
But Mr Collier said there was no guarantee the school would reopen because there had not been enough enrollments.
"If and when a sufficient number of students return to live in the vicinity of Yarloop Primary School, the school will reopen," he said.
"This has always been the case.
"The school building and grounds are being maintained so a reopening can happen reasonably quickly when required.
"The educational needs of students will be at the forefront of any decision to reopen Yarloop Primary School."
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