Five years ago, Cameron Cox decided to take a nap. On a ledge. On the 11th-floor of a building.
As you do, when at Schoolies, right?
When he was busted and sent home, Cox explained that he was intoxicated and had been trying to get some “fresh air.”
This year has seen an increase in the incidences of photos in which schoolies pose precariously on their Gold Coast hight-rise balconies as pictorial evidence of their new-found freedom.
Last weekend, a group of schoolies were photographed sitting on the ledge of a balcony on approximately the ninth floor of the Focus Apartments:
Dangerous balcony behaviour is an alarming practice that many school-leavers don't seem to understand.
It may be human nature to want to display your freedom by performing acts in defiance of mortality - and gravity - but it shouldn't be an extreme sport. It's one more thing that parents need to worry about during schoolies week.
We all know the stories about the crazy things that school-leavers do during the week-long, usually alcohol-fuelled, party. As parents, we worry about drugs, alcohol, sexual assault, and car accidents. We arm our kids with extra cash so they never have to walk back to their hotel alone in the middle of the night. We buy them condoms to pack. We talk about all the dangers that can happen outside of the apartments/houses they've rented with their friends. We warn them about going into stranger's abodes.
But rarely do we remind them to be careful in their high-rise apartment buildings. Identify the fire exits, take heed if you hear a smoke alarm, don't use the lifts in an emergency. Be careful when you are on your balcony.
Perhaps most of us think that these are safety basics that young adults would know. But when you put alcohol and excitement into the equation, they may not be the no-brainers we assume they are. Especially because the risk appears to be so small.
But it happens. It happened to Julian Simpson, an Australian diplomat, just last week.
It happened to Warriena Wright - and from a Surfers Paradise high-rise apartment balcony.
Sobering thoughts are the last thing anyone on schoolies wants to hear - but maybe it needs to be said so that it isn't the last thing they hear.
Listen to This Glorious Mess discuss what really happens at Schoolies