Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On schoolies

I am a little under the weather today, but hoping I can muster enough energy to give this blog post the incredulation it deserves.

Here in Australia the big school exams are the HSCs (familiar to any Neighbours or Home & Away viewers, and almost always said with a "haitch"). Upon finishing these exams, it is tradition that the "schoolies" (year 12s) head off for a big party. They don't head to the pub, or hold a school leavers ball like we did back in the UK - oh no. Here Down Under they organise these massive schoolies events. Kids travel for a week to places on the Gold Coast to party. Its a big do, lasts three weeks (because the different states go at different times) and it dominates the news.

My incredulation has set in, however, in watching some of the media coverage of schoolies.

Where you find schoolies you also find "toolies". These are grown up people who prey upon innocent drunken schoolies.

The media has gone on and on about how the specially designed "toolie-proof fence" has not kept grown ups out of designated schoolies areas. It has waxed lyrical about how the volunteers have not kept the kids (passed out from too much booze) safe on their journey to their accommodation. Most recently, last night A Current Affair (admittedly The Daily Mail of broadcast journalism) dedicated 10 mins to bemoaning that police were not sufficiently policing.

But hold on.... who looks after these children (because they are underage, that is what they still are) the rest of the year? Who granted permission for them to go on a week long bender unsupervised? Who let the custom get to the point where a child would probably be outcast if their parents said no?

I am utterly staggered that the death/injury/crime rates are not even higher than they are around this annual fiasco. What they need is a couple of years heavy investment on police raids, prosecution and (heaven forbid) kids being shipped home early. Some hefty fines for the companys who organise these things if a single child comes to harm in their care. Plus a few more parents prepared to stand up to their kids. There is no point educating them on the dangers of drink, drugs, strangers.... and then chucking them into the ultimate temptation.

1 comment:

Felicity said...

I'm with you on this, although it does have a slight ring of 'Young people these days...' about it ;) I fear I have very much entered into the realm of wanting to write stern letters to The Times about everything that annoys me, but it sounds like you're not far behind! x

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