Ban booze at all school sports
Good sports: Children enjoy a school sports day. Picture: Tim Slater/ The Kalgoorlie Miner

All WA schools should ban spectators from drinking alcohol during sporting events that involve students, says Healthway chairwoman Rosanna Capolingua.

"Alcohol should not be associated with school sport where young people need positive role models who demonstrate a healthy lifestyle," she said.

The Public Schools Association, which organises sporting fixtures between seven of Perth's oldest private boys' schools, recently added to its code of conduct the requirement that no alcohol be consumed during the hours of play.

PSA president Alec O'Connell said the new policy was in response to poor behaviour by parents who had been drinking at all-day cricket matches.

It also followed concerns that allowing spectators to consume alcohol during an event was poor role-modelling for students.

Dr O'Connell, who is also headmaster of Scotch College, warned parents at his school that breaching the policy could lead to a match being forfeited.

Dr Capolingua said the PSA move reinforced the message that alcohol had no place in sport at any level and urged all schools in WA to bring in similar regulations.

"Many adult sports, particularly some high-profile male dominated sports, have been plagued with very public displays of appalling behaviour by players and spectators as a result of consuming too much alcohol," she said.

"It is vital that young men get the message that too much alcohol is a recipe for disaster and that sport is not the place to promote drinking."

Sporting events held on public school sites are governed by an Education Department policy, which discourages drinking around children, but the same rules do not apply at other venues.

Education Department director-general Sharyn O'Neill said she had called for a review of the policy.

"Many school sporting events are held at neutral venues and sporting clubs that may permit the sale of alcohol," she said. "I have previously expressed my concerns about this and have asked for a review of the policy as it relates to sporting and other events."

Department of Sport and Recreation director-general Ron Alexander said he was not aware of any sporting events involving public schools where spectators regularly drank alcohol.

The department was working with community sporting organisations to promote responsible adult use of alcohol and had developed the "healthy club policy" to create a safe and healthy environment for junior participants.

The West Australian

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