Not the bar exam, but a lesson for life

AS the legal drinking age edges closer and parties become a regular weekend fixture for senior students, schools in Knox are taking a proactive approach to help them avoid risky behaviour.

Boronia K-12 College is one of those schools and recently held a Safe Party program for its year 9 students.

The party was organised by the school's adolescent health nurse with Knox police, Ambulance Victoria and Knox Youth Services.

Nurse Lyndel Armstrong said year 9 was the ideal age to teach students about the risks and responsibilities involved with adult behaviour.

"They're at the age where parties are becoming part of the lifestyle. Some would be considering having a 16th birthday party next year," she said.

The program includes workshops on legal responsibilities, sexual safety and first aid.

Ms Armstrong said they began the program by watching a DVD about a party that goes dreadfully wrong.

One of the activities that caught the students' attention the most was learning how to measure a standard drink.

"They were surprised by just how small the amount of a standard drink is. One mouthful from a bottle of vodka is all it takes."

In the same session, they also try on 'binge goggles'. Ms Armstrong said that although strapping on the goggles would not completely simulate drunkenness, it gave them a good idea.

"It takes away their sight, their peripheral vision and it makes them unbalanced."

Students also had concerns for their parents over new laws on the secondary supply of alcohol. The laws mean that if people under 18 are drinking at a party where parents are supervising, the adults can be fined up to $7000.

Ms Armstrong said the school may hold a night-time forum for parents to discuss their responsibilities.

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