In formulating the webpage: Victor Harbor Schoolies
, I asked for a depiction of Schoolies from former schoolies point of view. I think the depiction provided was accurate.
A journalist criticized the review drawing into question the former schoolies suggestion that young people who have over indulged should make contact with police and take a breath test.
I think the suggestion that people who have drunk too much should have contact with police is a pretty sensible notion. Police are the most important service provider during schoolies week, regardless of what destination you are talking about.
I’m disappointed that the article has impacted police policy and they backed down. Previously police provided alcohol breath tests upon request, now, because of a lame media article about our destination review of victor harbor, police will only do breath tests in the morning.
There will always be ten dozen different ways to criticize what we do here at the National Schoolies Website. But I won’t remove the comments made by a former schoolie who provided a destination review for Victor Harbor because I believe the review to be not only accurate and balanced, but responsible. Most importantly though because I credit young people with the intelligence to read sections of this website and be challenged to form their own opinion and criticize other’s opinions in a peer education setting such as the schoolies forums
So here is the trash talking article about our coverage of Victor Harbor Schoolies:
The National Schoolies Website and Forums are for schoolies by schoolies so your opinion and comment forms the content provided from one graduate class to the next.
1. What is your perspective on the destination review?
2. As a former Schoolie, how would you like to add to it or change it?
3. What is your opinion of this media article as a Schoolie or community member?
COMPETITIVE binge drinking by schoolies has forced police to axe night-time voluntary breath testing at the annual celebration.
Police admitted the breath testing program sparked schoolies to try and out-drink each other and achieve the highest possible blood alcohol concentration.
The move came as this year's school leavers were disturbingly dared to drink to extremes at Victor Harbor's Schoolies Festival next weekend.
Former schoolies have posted comments on the National Schoolies Site – Victor Harbor webpage challenging others to record the highest blood alcohol concentration (BAC) among their friends.
The independent website – www.schoolies.org.au – includes comments from Saint Marks College students egging on this year's school leavers.
"See who can get the highest (reading) without getting to (sic) blind," the comments read.
"A guy we hung out wid (sic) had a reading of .4 yeah!!! still standing."
In the past, police have given BAC readings to young people in an effort to curb drink driving.
But after realising the practice encouraged drinking contests, police have this year scrapped the program during night-time festivities.
Officer in charge of the South Coast Superintendent Anthony Fioravanti said: "I've received feedback that it did appear there was competition to see who could get the highest reading.
"In response, we're changing when we are giving the voluntary breath testing this year.
"Previously it was given in the evenings and at night, right in the middle of the festivities.
"That did tend to create some competition between people to see who could get the highest reading.
"Any advice we gave them, due to their level of intoxication, they wouldn't be taking it in anyway."
Instead, Supt Fioravanti, who is the Police Commander for Operation Schoolies 2007, said officers would offer breathalyser tests in the mornings.
"We're going to be conducting the voluntary breath testing at some of the caravan parks every morning so when people get up and think `I want to go for a drive' . . . we've got the voluntary breath testing happening at the caravan park," he said.
"They'll be able to go up, have the test and will be told their reading. They'll also be questioned about when they had their last drink, what did they drink and asked what their intention is (about driving). We're using it as an opportunity to educate young people about alcohol, drugs and driving." Supt Fioravanti said there would also be mobile and static random breath testing stations at Victor Harbor, Port Elliot, Middleton and Goolwa.
The Schoolies Festival is run by Encounter Youth.
The organisation's development and media co-ordinator Christy Spier was aware of the competitive drinking but said it should not be encouraged on websites like the National Schoolies Site.
"I definitely don't think that that is appropriate," she said.
"I don't think it's a healthy aspect of the culture."
Drug Arm Australasia national marketing and communications co-ordinator Josie Loth said the website was irresponsible.
"It's kind of encouraging that behaviour which is quite irresponsible," she said. "It's a bit deceiving when they (young people) think they can outdo each other (drinking).
"They shouldn't be encouraging that kind of drinking, especially binge drinking."
However, National Schoolies Site organiser Dominic Mapstone, based in Sydney, said there was nothing wrong with the comments.
"I've seen the more serious side of schoolies and I'm not worried about what's written on that webpage," Mr Mapstone, a social worker, said. "In my judgment as somebody who's worked at Schoolies since 1993, I won't be removing the comment."