Next week thousands of school leavers are heading down south and to Rottnest Island, in celebration of completing of 12 years of schooling.
Safety, alcohol and recreational drug use are a concern for parents, as recent years have depicted leavers as being ‘wild’ and ‘out of control’.
Leavers Manager for WA, Clint Browning, explained that 40% of leavers will be aged 18 and urges people to be self aware of the harms and risky situations that could arise.
“The majority enjoy themselves and behave themselves, there’s always the minority with every crowd that might misbehave, and that might be the stuff that gets dramatised…”
“But it’s really more about kids enjoying their time together, celebrating their 12 years of schooling and hopefully they can enjoy that without alcohol and drugs,” he said.
The State Government has implemented a leavers strategy strategy aiming to minimise harm.
“It’s a whole lot of Government responses to leavers, incorporating Police, health and support groups, local Government and other agencies, in delivering the one goal of making sure they have a safe and enjoyable time,” Mr Browning said.
With thousands of leavers expected to attend, there are 500 volunteers in the South West and Rottnest Island there to help and support.
Over the week there will be alcohol-free entertainment zones with various activities, bus and shuttle services, extra police resources and support groups – which are all part of the comprehensive harm minimisation strategy.
Mr Browning is encouraging all leavers to stay safe and be sure to remain in contact with their parents.
“The key message out of all of this is look after yourself and look after your friends, enjoy yourselves… Go say hi to police, go say hi to the volunteers – they’re all there to help you, and just enjoy the week,”