School might be out for senior students, but experts are warning that consequences still apply as concerns over muck-up day celebrations have surfaced.
Some Year 12 students are being encouraged by schoolmates to complete challenges – ranging from the distasteful to highly illegal – as part of school leaving activities.
An example is scavenger hunts which involve students daring each other to tackle a range of challenges to earns points.
Local counsellor Clive Murphy said in a period of celebration common sense can often be overlooked.
“Guilt is the most damaging emotion there is, because it’s ongoing and will either mean they’re beating themselves up or feel that they owe someone something,” Mr Murphy said.
“If they don’t have any morals, they might not be worried about the consequences and everything we do has consequences.
“But, sometimes kids can’t predict and these ramifications can be damaging to their futures.”
Mr Murphy said the effects of engaging in inappropriate behaviours can go beyond ruining employment prospects.
“If these students get caught and their name and face is distributed throughout the media, they will be humiliated and feel embarrassed,” the counselor said.
“This can affect them psychologically and it might take them many years to overcome it.”
Mr Murphy said that research shows young people can’t accurately predict the consequences up to 25 years old, for example they can’t predict the consequences of engaging in unprotected sex and driving at high speed.
According to research by the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland, adolescents and young adults are vulnerable to risk-taking because “development of executive brain function and appreciation of risk is continuing in this period”.
While the Wagga Police have said they have not intervened in school leaving activities yet they urged students to be aware of the dangers.
“Obviously like any criminal act, sanctions still apply,” duty officer Adrian Telfer said.
The NSW Department of Education introduced a range of initiatives to support student well-being, including the partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Wellbeing Framework for public schools.
“We have partnered with various organisations to develop evidence-informed responses to young people with complex mental health issues,” a spokesperson said.