February 24th, 2006 at 03:35pm
It was only a few years ago that I was a student at Campbell High School, and I clearly remember the annual tradition of excursions to the Civic Pool during P.E. classes.
These were organised in an unusual manner, which involved walking to the pool and back from the high school. There was a small level of order to this odd excursion, there were three teachers, one leading the pack, one in the middle and one at the rear attempting to speed up the dawdlers. All students had to cross at the traffic lights on Limestone Avenue outside the high school, walk down a particular side of Coranderrk St to the Constitution Avenue traffic lights, cross at the lights, walk to the pedestrian crossing next to the convention centre and cross over to the swimming pool. This was quite naturally reversed on the way back.
Today on my way into the CIT Reid Campus around 11:30am I spotted one of these drawn out excursion groups, unfortunately there seemed to be much less order to this lot than any time during my high school years. Firstly, there was no visible teacher presence, this could be explained by the general demographic of P.E. teachers being fairly young, and often fresh out of university. Generally they do look a bit older than the students and look mildly authoritative.
Unfortunately there was no such presence in this group and it showed. Road crossings were amazingly disorganised and dangerous. Coranderrk and Ballumbir Streets intersect in a Y shape, with Ballumbir merging with Coranderrk to form a new length of Coranderrk. Naturally, this is where the group decided to cross, seemingly running across the road and dodging cars. If this move was initiated by a leading teacher then I am very concerned about the example they are imparting on their young and impressionable students. Even worse still, no teacher attempted to stop this from happening.
Following this bizarre and dangerous road crossing, many students seemingly disappeared into Glebe Park and the surrounding walkways, and headed in the general direction of Civic. Admittedly a roll call at the pool would have picked up these truants, but it is still unacceptable that this could happen so easily.
It would appear that Campbell High School’s P.E. teachers have forgotten their duty of care, and need to be reminded of school policies in relation to excursions. If an accident had occurred, which it nearly did, the consequences and negative publicity would have made them wake up. None the less, prevention is better than cure, and I will be sending a copy of this article to Campbell High School as a courtesy to allow them to review policies, and take the appropriate action to help ensure the safety of their students.
I’m certain that somebody will now tell me that high school students should be capable of crossing the road safely, and I agree, they should, but peer pressure and general teenage silliness does get in the way of clear judgements from time to time, and it is the job of the supervising teachers to keep this to a minimum.
Whilst Campbell High is my old high school, I am not picking on them simply because I used to go there. In this case I am able to draw on my experiences there and make a comparison, however I would be equally critical of any school that allowed such behaviour.