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Education

Formentera youth join call to reject petroleum explorations

jovesdiuen NO webLast Friday, a small group of pupils from IES Marc Ferrer (secondary school), joined by the school's director, Raquel Guasch, met with Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer and councillor of Education and Culture Sònia Cardona to deliver more than 200 signatures from residents of the island who oppose plans to explore for petrol on the Gulf of Valencia and west coast of the Pitiüsa Islands. The act, mostly symbolic, was part of an effort by Formentera students to give the youth of the island a voice in the issues that affect them.

The idea came from the students themselves. After witnessing outreach work done by the school's environmental commission – la Comissió de Medi Ambient –, a group of students at the high school, acutely aware of their right to take part in the discussions that affect the future of their island, decided to take action. Although not yet old enough to vote, the students wished to manifest their rejection of the seismic drilling plans and join the growing collective of more than 2,500 Formentera residents who have already voiced their opposition.

For its part, the Council committed to delivering the signed petitions to the Ministry of the Environment and Industry, thus making the opinions of Formentera youth known to those with decision-making power.

In addition to the Council's absolute support of the youth initiative, in the final trimester of 2013 the administration also ratified the constitution of the recently-formed local youth council, El Consell de Participació Infantil i Juvenil. The youth council was envisioned as an advisory body whose role it would be to provide a voice to Formentera youth as well as promote their active participation in local politics. Giving youth a voice, it was reasoned, would be the first step to considering that voice in the decision-making process.

This month's plenary session of the Formentera Island Council will raise that very issue and introduce a proposal to declare Formentera a UNICEF Child-friendly City. If approved, such a declaration would stand to certify that the municipality of Formentera upholds the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In-school police officer to lead student talks on web-based crime

oci3From 29 to 31 January, Formentera's in-school police liaison will lead a series of talks at the island's secondary school, IES Marc Ferrer, and at two local primary schools, CPs Sant Ferran and Mestre Lluís Andreu. The talks, directed at years five and six of primary school and at the entirety of the secondary school student body, will focus on social media websites.

At the talks, students will also benefit from the special participation of a visiting police liaison from Ciutadella (Menorca), himself a specialist in computer-based crime. The officer will visit Formentera with the express purpose of participating in the specialised talks, which aim to inform island youth of the dangers of computer-based crime, recently on the rise.

In-school police liaisons are members of the local police force who collaborate specifically with educational centres. They assure a level of security on the school grounds, oversee prevention work vis-à-vis underage segments of the student body and work in concert with in-school social workers. On a day-to-day basis the liaison officer also intervenes on cases of truancy, student conflicts and criminal acts, tobacco and drug consumption and a host of other issues. The incidents logged most often in the 2012/2013 annual report by the Formentera police liaison were student conflicts (commonly fights and threats), reports to the local office of social services, serving summons for appearances in juvenile court and interventions in family conflicts.

Thanks to the programme an extra level of protection is afforded the island's early-childhood, primary and secondary school centres, which are assured a certain level of permanent contact with the local police officer.

Formentera's councillor of Education, Sònia Cardona, spoke effusively of the programme's benefits and the high level of satisfaction it is receiving. She underscored the preventative work being done and spoke of the importance, for students, of having such a figure on campus, whether it be in his role leading talks and conferences, supervising entry to and exit from schools, or any of his other functions.

Formentera's in-school liaison, Officer Carlos Malberti, has held his charge since September 2009. The post of liaison officer has been promoted by Formentera Council offices of Public Safety, Education and Social Welfare, and benefitted from the collaboration of the Balearic Islands Institute of Public Safety (ISPIB), a programme of the Govern Balear and the Department of Public Administrations.

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