What’s a school’s role in dealing with a “boozy” culture?

Recent articles in the press (The Age), in Britain and in New York all point to community problems around the control and effects of drinking – particularly binge drinking.

Over the past 12 months we as a school council have attempted to look at our practices as a school in relation to the serving and consumption of alcohol and the possible effects of adult role modelling at school functions when young children are present.

When I raised this recently with a colleague in the States he was just amazed that we were allowed to have alcohol on school premises at all.

We have looked at our Department of Education policy on this which has suggestions that schools might consider. We have banned the consumption of alcohol at certain functions where children at present during school times, we have made community functions like Bush Dances BYO and are selling it now at off site functions targeted for parents. There are exceptions like the school fete at this point.

Our journey hasn’t been without incident and dissent. We thought at the beginning that this was a self-evident community problem and wouldn’t require an education program – we were wrong – a situation we are now addressing. This for us on Council was not meant as a reflection on our smaller community but simply a statement that there is a wider problem and we were being proactive in our approach.

We have found a wide variety of approaches of other local schools and wonder what others think?