Talk to your child's school
Schools have important roles regarding alcohol and young people. Schools have a critical role in equipping young people with the necessary knowledge, attitudes and skills to lead healthy lives and this should include appropriate alcohol education. Tips for working with your child’s school to prevent harm from alcohol include:
- Find out what and how much alcohol education students receive within the curriculum. Do they receive regular education based on a comprehensive program rather than a one-off session? There is little evidence that one-off alcohol education sessions, including those delivered by an outsider who visits the school, provide benefit in terms of behaviour change. One-off sessions may also be counter-productive if they increase young people’s interest in alcohol use. Communicate your support for regular, well-resourced alcohol and other drug education in schools.
- Find out what the school’s Parents and Citizens Association (or equivalent group) have done or are doing in regard to alcohol. Do they support regular alcohol education and developing a policy to phase out alcohol in fundraising?
- Is there a committee or council you can join to encourage change from within the school?
- Find out if the school has an alcohol policy. Does it address the availability of alcohol at school events or the use of alcohol in fundraising? Encourage your child’s school to develop a school alcohol policy that prevents alcohol being used as prizes for school raffles or in fundraisers and prevents alcohol being provided or sold to adults at school fairs and events where children may be present.
- Ask what the school is doing to prevent alcohol-related harm around key events such as the school ball and leavers celebrations.
- Share information with other parents. Ask for information to be included in the school newsletter. Start a network of concerned parents.
For more info on alcohol education in schools, check out School Drug Education and Aware (SDERA) and the Australian National Council on Drugs’ information sheet for schools on alcohol and other drug policies and programs.