Students ‘pissed off’ at principal’s demand
Dozens of Year 12 students at a school in Victoria's northwest were told they needed to pass a mandatory alcohol breath test if they wanted to attend a muck-up day breakfast last week.
Castlemaine Secondary College students on Friday were presented with a breathalyser and told to blow in a move authorised by the school's principal, Paul Frye.
Mr Frye has since been spoken to by the Victorian Department of Education and Training which told news.com.au "the health and safety of our students is always our top priority" but alcohol testing "is in contravention of current DET policy".
"The health and safety of our students is always our top priority, and schools work hard to educate students on the dangers of alcohol use," a Department spokesman said.
"This year, celebrations at Castlemaine Secondary College were modified to ensure COVID safe measures were in place including holding the event outdoors, limiting celebrations to students and the wearing of face masks and social distancing.
"The school also used alcohol testing as part of its safety measures during end of year events for Year 12 students.
"This is in contravention of current Department of Education and Training policy.
"Regional staff have counselled the principal of Castlemaine Secondary College and instructed him to comply with current policy and work with regional staff on more effective ways to support student health and wellbeing in partnership with families."
None of the students returned a positive blood alcohol reading.
The Age newspaper spoke with the mother of a Year 12 student who said there was a feeling among the student cohort that their rights were being violated.
"To turn up on your last day of Year 12 to have that thrown in your face ... the students are angry and they're frustrated and pretty pissed off," she said.
On a local Facebook group where the story spread today, a number of students expressed support for the measure.
"As a current year 12 student who was there that day, I'm all for the breath testing and see no issue, especially when it's for our own health and safety!!" one female student wrote.
"I'm a current year 12 at this school. All the students were aware of this happening, it was brought in to ensure all the students were safe and for their own health. I don't see an issue with the breath testing! This is a great implementation to our muck up day since the teachers are looking out for our concern and have been for previous years now," another wrote.
A third student wrote: "I haven't heard any of us year 12s complaining, we all knew it was happening and that it was for our own safety, it takes about two seconds it was barely even an inconvenience let alone a 'violation of rights' as some papers have claimed. Not sure why anyone would make a big deal out of it."
A parent expressed her support, too.
"As a parent with students at this school I'm all for it," they wrote.
Originally published as Students 'pissed off' at principal's demand