A move to ban bags from WA school leavers’ celebrations has sparked safety fears, with opponents of the plan saying the move discriminates against girls.
The move has been introduced by Leavers WA, a State Government-WA Police joint venture to minimise harm to school leavers during the rowdy celebrations.
Leavers runs from Monday November 22 until Thursday November 25.
And this year, those of the predicted 10,000 schoolies who want to party at the Dunsborough ‘Entertainment Zone’, will not be able to take a bag into the area.
But a change.org petition, started by Justine Cerini, asking for small handbags to be permitted into the event has already attracted more than 3100 signatures.
“Girls and guys without pockets are expected to carry in their hands, two forms of ID, phones, phone charges, sanitary items, medications such as epi-pens, asthma puffers and diabetic meds, car and accommodation keys,” Ms Cerini wrote.
“Alternatively girls can bring a medical authority and check their medications in with the medics where they will be locked away.
“In case of emergency they are expected to run through the crowd to the medical tent, produce ID and then their medication will be unlocked and provided to them.
“If you require sanitary products you can line up at the registration counter and ask for them – no choice as to what you use on/in your body and carry them to the toilets – no respect for privacy.
“This does not even address safety concerns over lost/flat phones if you find yourself in a uncomfortable or dangerous situation or lost accommodation keys.
“Alternatively dress like a guy or be a guy and bring in what you want in your pockets. #period #safetyforall #respect.”
Leavers WA told Ms Cerini the policy was not new, and was designed to stop drugs and alcohol being consumed in the ‘Entertaiment Zone’.
“This policy has been enforced at leavers over many years and is in the interests of the safety of leavers,” the organisation said.
“It was observed that when the bag policy was relaxed last year, there was an increase in medical presentations.
“Leavers will be able to take small mobile phone pouches into the Entertainment Zone, however, they will be subject to search by security.”