A Guide to Safe Schoolies 2012
By Michelle Mitchell
After 12 years of doing homework and eating vegemite sandwiches many school leavers choose to let their hair down at Schoolies. But this week-long party has authorities on edge and parents terrified.
According to the National Schoolies Week Organisation 52.3% of boys and 37.3% of girls get drunk every day at the Gold Coast event. 18.8% percent of boys and 9.2% of girls have sex with one casual partner during the week, of which 36.4% of boys and 45.1% of girls do not use a condom.
Research from police arrest statistics shows 90% of schoolies partying in Queensland will consume alcohol, 25% will smoke cannabis, and 11% will take ecstasy.
This step by step guide will help parents and teachers keep teenagers safe at Schoolies this year.
- Look Out for Your Mates
Never leave your mates, not even for a minute. Never wander away from lit up areas, especially during the early hours of the morning. Don't go anywhere with anyone you don't know.
- Don't Forget the Basics
Don't forget to drink 8 glasses of water and eat 3 meals every day. Even a small amount of alcohol on an empty stomach and a dehydrated body can make someone very sick. I know that 8 hours sleep may be a lot to ask, but try to sleep until you feel normal.
- Think Before You Consume Alcohol
Drinking in moderation will help keep you safe. Drinking excessive alcohol can put you at greater risk of hurting yourself and make you less aware of danger. Remember that drink spiking is a big problem at Schoolies. Don't ever put your drink down or accept a drink from someone else.
- Be Cautious About Romance
Toolies is the name for older people who attend Schoolies. Unfortunately, they are known for causing trouble. Some sell illegal drugs and some are solely there to 'hook up' with vulnerable youngsters. Remember that once Schoolies is over one night stands rarely keep in touch. When it comes to sexual activity, be cautious and think about your safety first. Pregnancy, STIs and rape are things to seriously things to think about.
- Know How to Handle a Crisis
If you are confronted with a crisis, you should ring the ambulance or police. Many young people don't realise that the ambulance operates differently to the police. The ambulance is not there to enforce the law. They are there to keep you safe. If your friend had taken illegal drugs which had caused their body to go into shock, they wouldn't get into trouble. The ambulance will only call the police if their safety is in danger. For example, if you pull a knife on them.
- Get the Red Frog App
A useful free service teenagers can access during Schoolies is www.RedFrogs.com.au. The Red Frog App enables teenagers to call a "walk home" if they get lost or abandoned, or book "pancakes" to be made in their hotel room.
The Safety Checklist
- Does your teenager have friends who will watch out for them?
- Has your teenager had adequate alcohol & sex education?
- Does your teenager understand the role of the ambulance & police?
- Have you considered packaging some frozen meals for them?
- Has your teenager downloaded the Red Frogs App?
- Does your teenager know they can call home anytime, without judgement?
About Michelle Mitchell
Michelle has worked as a teacher before establishing Youth Excel in 2000, a charity devoted to working with teenagers from all walks of life to ensure they reach their potential. Youth Excel delivers life skills programs, mentoring and professional counselling to hundreds of teenagers each year, ensuring Michelle remains on the cutting edge of teenage culture.
Founder Youth Excel
Author of "What Teenage Girls Don't Tell their Parents"