Morcombes spread safety message
THE parents of missing teen Daniel Morcombe were reunited with one of his former teachers yesterday, as they delivered a heartfelt safety message to Maryborough students.
St Mary's College maths teacher Kaye Mason said she taught Daniel in Year 9 at the Sunshine Coast, and had stayed in touch with the family through the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.
"He was a lovely boy, so the issue of child safety is very close to my heart," Ms Mason said.
"Here in Maryborough we feel protected and safe because we're in a country town, but we have to remind people that they still need to be careful."
The Morcombes visited St Mary's College yesterday afternoon as part of a 10-day tour to talk about child safety, where they will speak at more than 20 schools and travel up to 300km each day.
Daniel's dad Bruce Morcombe said the family had been hit hard by the events of the past three weeks, including the arrest of a 41-year-old Perth man and the discovery of Daniel's bones.
But they were determined to continue with their planned tour to promote Child Safety Week.
"We can't assist with the search, and we don't have access to Daniel's bones," Mr Morcombe said.
"There's nothing else for us to do but make sure we get the message out about child safety.
"We just grit our teeth and keep going."
Speaking to students from years 7, 8, 9 and 10, the Morcombes offered practical advice on how to stay safe online and in person - advice they admit could have saved their son.
"Our family is proof there are people in society who do not respect others, as you were all taught. You need to stay one step ahead," Mr Morcombe said.
"Daniel did not get a second chance. But if you can learn anything from this tragic event, he might be able to give you a second chance."
They suggested the youths should always travel with a friend; report suspicious activities and have a "family password" known only by trusted people.
The couple set out from Brisbane on Sunday, after Premier Anna Bligh announced a $460,000 package to make classes in safety tactics a compulsory part of the school curriculum - a move welcomed by the Morcombe family.
"It means that children in Queensland will be safer," Mr Morcombe said.
"There's no point in having the greatest child protection advice in the world if it is just a manual.
"It needs to be taught to kids to give them sufficient skills."
Mr Morecombe said the over-riding message to children was that if they felt threatened, they should run and get help.
"We can ask the question, but we may never have an answer - why didn't Daniel run?" Mr Morcombe said.
"But it's not just about child abduction, which is extremely rare in Australia.
"It's also about abused and neglected children, and bullying."
Towing a red trailer emblazoned with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation's logo, the couple will visit Bundaberg, Gladstone and Rockhampton tomorrow, as they continue their tour to prevent another tragedy like the death of their son.