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Oz teachers celebrate Friday night 'happy hour' in staff rooms boozing

By Nairita Das

Melbourne, Nov 21 (ANI): Drug and alcohol campaigners are fuming as NSW teachers celebrate Friday night "happy hour" in school staff rooms getting stuck into cheap booze.

Many of the state's 200-odd Catholic schools are understood to have refrigerators stocked with alcohol in staff rooms and to publicize cheap alcohol, reports the Daily Telegraph.

According to the NSW Education Department's Code of Conduct, state schools ban teachers from bringing alcohol to school or consuming it during school hours, with restrictions extended to events conducted outside school premises.

While a spokesman for the Catholic Education Office - which covers 147 primary and secondary schools in NSW - admitted that there were no formal policies in place in relation to alcohol consumption by staff when students were not present, he said "certainly, we are not tuck shops for alcohol".

Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia's Paul Dillon said he had grave concerns about the example being set for students by the behaviour.

"Certainly I have confronted schools and principals about the practice and the worst thing I've seen is actual prices of alcohol pinned on fridges," Dillon said.

"Young people go into the staff room, they see the fridges.

"There is also the issue that [teachers] are doing this on a Friday night. They are then getting behind the wheel and driving home.

"When I've raised this, the teachers have become very, very defensive. They say things like, 'It is our right to do this'," he said.

The only mandate from the office is that alcohol not be consumed on school premises during school hours or in the company of students.

"Obviously, on some occasions when students are not in attendance, a school's facilities can be used by school and parish communities for social occasions such as fundraising activities, farewells for staff or special events," the spokesman said.

"We want to make it very clear that we take our responsibility as role models for students very seriously, particularly in relation to this important social issue," the spokesman added. (ANI)

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