College acts on risky behaviour

The Southern Gazette has obtained a copy of a March 23 letter from Wesley College head of senior school Mark Sampson.

The letter said while the reported incidents occurred off school grounds, staff members were concerned because the behaviour was �contrary to our values and beliefs of how we want our young men to behave�.

In the letter, Mr Sampson puts the onus on parents to take responsibility for their sons� out of school hours activities.

�It appears that some parents are allowing drinking to occur and other trusting parents are allowing their son to go out to another house or venue where drinking has occurred and there was no checking on the party or host parent contact,� the letter said.

Mr Sampson said he was equally concerned about pornographic personal images being taken and distributed by students via mobile phones and social media.

Mr Sampson said he was aware of the potential legal ramifications of high-risk behaviour by students and the boys were �placing themselves at risk of physical hurt, social and emotional distress�.

Wesley headmaster David Gee said the College had a zero-tolerance policy for this type of risk-taking behaviour.

�We take these issues extremely seriously and keep open lines of communication at all times with students, parents and the school community,� Mr Gee said.

�While we cannot control what happens outside the college, we are committed to providing our school community with support and information to ensure these incidents do not occur.�

East Victoria Park psychologist Marny Lishman said the teenage brain had trouble controlling risk-taking impulses and understanding the consequences of its actions.

�The teenage brain is rapidly growing during the adolescent years, however the part of the brain that controls decision making is not fully developed when teenagers are making these decisions,� Dr Lishman said.

She said the problem with �sexting� and posting explicit or potentially embarrassing photographs on social media was that they were there forever.

�The consequences of sending photos of yourself to people are that once they are put out there, you can�t get them back,� she said.

Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor director of strategic regulation Mark Beecroft said there was currently no law against an adult, parent or guardian supplying liquor to a juvenile in a private residence in WA.