Private parties concern officials
POLICE have warned teenagers who choose to attend privately run schoolies events could be at risk.
Private companies are cashing in on school leavers and are hosting parties outside of the official schoolies dates. Traditionally students register with a government-sponsored organisation that provides safe and supervised events.
Acting chairman of the official Whitsunday Schoolies Advisory Committee Sergeant Nigel Dalton advised parents to make sure their children chose registered events. Sgt Dalton said school leavers who stayed for more than the recommended five days could be putting themselves at risk.
"We've cut the official celebrations back from seven days to five days in 2010," he said.
"We found students were becoming tired after a few days and weren't turning up to events.
"We weren't sure what they were doing, but making poor choices during this time could have long-term consequences.
"Some of these can include unwanted pregnancies, a criminal record, catching STIs, driving offences and more."
Matt Lloyd is the CEO and owner of Schoolies.com, a private accommodation agent which is hosting parties in the two days following the end of government-sponsored activities.
Mr Lloyd said it was necessary to hold events after official celebrations had concluded.
"We have seen strong demand for the extra two days of activities," he said.
"Students usually stay for the seven days anyway, so we are providing them with activities so they don't get bored."
Mr Lloyd said safety measures for their 2014 events were still being finalised.
"We are putting measures in place to ensure the safety of everyone at our parties.
Sgt Dalton said it was concerning some private companies hosted parties open to all ages.
"The rules of schoolies are simple, you have to be a school leaver to be able to attend official schoolies events."
"Having it open to all ages exposes the children to older influences."
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