We are there, the middle of Term 4, which fills the Wellbeing Team with a sense of pride and reassurance that the school year and our students have nearly ticked off another great year of learning and social development. The Year 12s will be almost finished with their exams when this newsletter hits the press and we congratulate them all on a huge achievement in what has been some very interesting and challenging years.
As we move into the summer months, you will start to look forward to get-togethers and parties and the Year 12s will be faced with the big event of “Schoolies”. Whether it is a low key event or they are choosing a destination far away, the advice from Better Health Channel really can resonate to many different age groups, as it is all around keeping you and your mates safe. For our Year 12 leavers or students entering Year 12 for 2023, you may be planning your end of year celebrations now. Here is great advice starting with talking about safety with your friends and family, it could really save you on so many levels.
Partying Safely at Schoolies
What is Schoolies?
Every year in late November through to December, thousands of school leavers head to holiday destinations around the country for schoolies (or leavers) to celebrate the end of school life. Popular locations in Victoria include coastal areas such as Lorne, Torquay, Rye or Phillip Island. Intense partying can be lots of fun if you pace yourself and plan ahead so you’re aware of any risks and know what to do in an emergency.
How to prepare before you go
It is important to decide what your limits are so you can avoid any unpleasant situations.
Here are some suggestions from Better Health Channel
• decide what you’re prepared to do and where to draw the line around sex, alcohol and drugs
• talk to your friends about where they stand and plan ways to look out for each other
• let your family and loved ones know your destination and who you are going with
Tell others if you have a health condition (such as diabetes, asthma, allergies, depression or epilepsy) so they can look out for you. Research how you can travel safely and work this into your plans. It might also help to know how alcohol or other drugs could interact with your health condition. You can consult your doctor about this and also look for further info online.
Check you have ambulance cover, this can save you a lot of money in an emergency.
If you have private health insurance, know what you’re covered for.
Some local councils run special events for schoolies in a safe environment. If this sounds like an option, visit the Council’s website before you leave for more details.
Safety tips for schoolies
Sometimes, when you’re in a group, you may find yourself doing things you would never do alone.
Safety tips include:
• stick to the house rules; don’t get kicked out of your accommodation
• carry your accommodation details with you incase you get lost or need a ride to the place you are staying
• keep your room locked. If you’re sharing, make sure you know who has the key or swipe card and stick with them or leave the key at the front desk, if there is a 24 hour concierge
• before going out, plan to meet somewhere in case you get separated
• stick with your friends and watch out for each other. Walk to and from the main schoolies area in groups
• don’t wander off alone. Avoid going off with people you are not friends with, particularly if you are intoxicated
• make sure your phone is charged and has plenty of credit
• carry some spare cash
• keep emergency contact numbers handy
• practice safe sex
• keep your shoes on outside, even on the beach. If you are in an area where there are loads of people, watch out for sharp objects such as broken glass
• don’t take risks, such as swimming or diving in unfamiliar water or driving or getting into a car with someone who has been drinking or taking drugs
• don’t leave your things unattended (such as, on the beach or at a club). Take it in turns to look after everyone’s stuff
• steer clear of groups who seem to be wandering without purpose. Violence tends to spread through a crowd, so don’t hang around to watch if a brawl starts
Alcohol – Schoolies Survival Tips
If you’re going to drink or take other drugs at schoolies, be smart about it. You want to remember these fun times and not wake up with a massive hangover or be too out of it to enjoy yourself.
Survival tips include
• decide on a limit and stick to it
• don’t drink on an empty stomach
• pace yourself – try to alternate an alcoholic drink with something like water
Keep an eye on your drinks. Anyone can spike a drink with alcohol or other drugs – including mates. If you all hit the dancefloor, buy new drinks afterwards.
• don’t accept drinks (including water) from strangers. Buy your own and get drinks with lids to open yourself. Watch bar staff prepare your drinks
• if you suspect drink spiking, tell the manager or host immediately and contact emergency services by calling 000
• don’t give into peer pressure – it’s okay to say no, if you don’t feel comfortable
• if you’re feeling down or anxious, try to avoid alcohol and drugs, they can make symptoms worse. Remember, you don’t have to drink or take drugs to have a good time
Trust your instincts – if you feel unsafe, move away from the situation.
Avoiding trouble during schoolies
Try to be savvy in situations that are risky. Schoolies sometimes receive unwanted attention from:
• ‘Toolies’ – aren’t school-leavers but attend schoolies. They are often adults who take advantage of young people who have been drinking or taking drugs
• strangers – you can’t always trust new people you meet out. Play it safe – stay with your friends and don’t wander off alone or with someone you don’t know
• social media – when you’re partying hard, people may find it funny to post things on social media of you acting up in ways you may later regret
Remember, if things go wrong or you are worried in any way
• talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, family member or another person you feel comfortable to talk to
• let others know how you are feeling, especially if you or someone you are with is having thoughts about harming themselves or experiencing a personal crisis. Go to a safe place and have a trusted person with you
Chat online with a support service such as Beyond Blue, eheadspace, Kids Helpline or ReachOut.
What to do in an emergency
Call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance
What can parents/carers do to keep their young person safe
• have a conversation about schoolies before your teenager leaves for their trip and maintain communication while they are away
• talk about the effects of alcohol and other drugs and the risks involved
• make sure your teen is aware of the law in the location they will be celebrating, particularly around issues such as underage drinking
Schoolies/Leavers’ Week – What parents can do to keep their teenage safe – positive choices
Support your teenager while they are away
Maintain communication with your teenager while they are away. Arrange a time to speak to them or text every now and then throughout the week. Early afternoon can often be a good time to talk.
Remind them they can always contact you, for whatever reason and keep your mobile phone close to you during the week. After voicing your concerns about schoolies, give your teenager a chance to talk about how they plan to deal with the concerns you’ve raised. You may find that they have thought about these issues themselves and have sensible plans to keep themselves and their friends safe.
The information in this Gazette is to help you and your child prepare for what to do when things go wrong. However, many young people who attend schoolies celebrations, have an enjoyable and safe time with their friends, where nothing goes wrong.
Headspace also provides some great advice around safe
partying, check it out here:
Schoolies – A time to have fun and be safe (headspace.org.au)
As always, stay kind and reach out if you need too.
Debbie, Mel and Taryn