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Written by Peter Carter

November 18, 2016

For many people, it’s an ordinary but busy week.  For others; it’s the start of the first week of schoolies.

Schoolies has long been a rite of passage and Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast is a natural destination for all that it promises.

As much delight it gives to school leavers, it provides grief and anxiety for parents, police, ambulance and others.

Some recurring problems at schoolies are: underage drinking, purchasing alcohol for minors, drugs, unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancies, damage to property, and disrespect to police and others in authority and risky behaviour.

Some cases result in a slap over the wrist while others face more serious repercussions such as fines, a criminal record, injury and on the rare tragic occasion, death as a result of drugs, drowning, falling or cars.

Parents should never supply alcohol for a minor.  The law is now clear on this issue – it can lead to heavy fines and even civil liability for injury compensation for parent and schoolie alike.

Rather, have a frank talk about the consequences of illegal conduct.

Talk about sex, pregnancy and how that would change future plans.  Embarrassing for a moment perhaps but earnest advice is a worthwhile way to prevent future prospects disappearing in the ocean.

Educate your child about drink spiking and suggest they do not accept drinks from strangers, not even water, and never to leave a drink unattended.

Drunken behaviour can lead to damaging property and building owners and real estate agencies do not take this lightly.  Swimming at night is downright dangerous.  Abusing police, ambulance and others is not tolerated and could attract fines or worse.

Toolies are also a threat as they are older and tend to get more fuelled up by alcohol.

Suggest your child spends time with trusted friends and that they look out for one another.  Tell your child that they are within their right to say no to anything that is dangerous or illegal or makes them feel uncomfortable.  Stay in regular contact while they are away.

The Queensland Government in conjunction with the Gold Coast City Council are committed to the safety of all youths participating in schoolies and offer a comprehensive safety program for them.  Many volunteers and community organisations work around the clock to keep the youngsters safe.

A welcome addition to the Gold Coast this year in time for schoolies is cameras.  Low light night vision cameras keep an eye on the revellers and their antics.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate is all for this as he says if it saved just one life, it would be worth it.

Teenagers cannot be wrapped up in cotton wool but one open discussion could be the difference between no problems and a legal battlefield.

The bottom line is do not let schoolies ruin your child’s future. For more information on fines and the law go to https://www.schoolies.qld.gov.au/your-rights-and-responsibilities/fines-and-the-law

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