Dr Dan White
Dr Dan White, executive director of Catholic schools in the Sydney archdiocese, is urging parents to consider encouraging their kids to participate in other ways than "Schoolies Week" to celebrate the end of school.
"While I acknowledge that the end of school is a rite of passage worth celebrating, the idea of large numbers of students who have only recently turned 18 (or in some cases are still 17) being together in an unfamiliar environment far from home without any support or supervision is worrying," he was quoted as saying by The Catholic Weekly.
"There is often enormous peer pressure for young people to act in a way that is contrary to what they believe is appropriate or safe.
"I encourage parents to look at 'incentives' for their children to consider other options. Putting some money towards something special, supporting a holiday with a few good friends in a safer environment or even arranging a holiday experience with some or all of the family are worth considering.
"I understand that the pressure placed on parents by their children to attend schoolies-type event can be great. Still, there is so much at stake for these young people and so many stories of heartbreak and hurt that arise out of their experiences. For many others, the whole thing turns about to be a huge disappointment.
"I understand some schools work with their students to arrange activities that involve them working with disadvantaged youth or supporting communities in need. I think this is a fantastic option.
"I would join with others, like adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, in challenging the culture of Schoolies Week, it has the capacity to do significant long term harm," Dr White said.
Risk of long-term harm in ‘schoolies week' (The Catholic Weekly)