Girls top schools’ booze league

Sunday Star Times 15/08/2010

Schoolgirls are hitting the booze harder than ever, and even the very young are drinking, according to the Education Ministry. And worried teachers say Monday-morning hangovers after students’ booze-fuelled weekends are stopping them learning. Children as young as seven and eight have been disciplined over alcohol-related matters, and teachers said binge-drinking was so bad that some students were still suffering in the classroom when they returned to school after partying away the weekend.

More students were being disciplined for alcohol-related offences, a pattern first noticed in 2003. Stand-downs from school dropped during the same period to 3.6%, but had spiked again recently to about 5%. About 800 secondary and 88 primary students, some as young as seven, were stood down from school because of alcohol consumption last year. Seven students were expelled, or forbidden from attending that school and forced to enrol at another. And girls, who usually outperform boys in school results, appear to be leading in the boozing league. The number stood down over alcohol was more than double the rate for boys, with the latest figures at 8% of females compared to 3.5% of males.