Pupils' gatecrashing a worrying trend

Dunedin high school pupils gatecrashing university student parties have prompted concerned residents of an infamous student street to call police.

Two grossly intoxicated schoolgirls were taken to the Dunedin Central police station after a group of uninvited pupils attended a Hyde St party last Saturday.

Southern police district deployment co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Matt Scoles, of Dunedin, said residents contacted police to report, ''We have all these kids in our house. Can you get them out?''.

Police found two teenagers - aged 16 or 17 - so intoxicated they were incapable of giving their addresses and were taken into police custody to detox.

It was the latest in a series of incidents involving high school pupils heading to the student quarter this year, Snr Sgt Scoles said.

''They just find the closest party and just hook into it.''

Last month, police shut several large parties ''overrun'' with high school pupils in the student quarter.

''The area was full of high school [pupils] who were wandering around campus and finding the first party they came to.''

Police were concerned about the trend, which raised issues for underaged and unsupervised teens, he said.

Officers were contacting the pupils' schools, and ''schools need to be conveying the message that this is not the safest environment for high school [pupils] to be in''.

Parents should also talk to their children and find out where they were going.

Otago University Students' Association president Ruby Sycamore-Smith said she was disappointed by the pupils' actions, but praised the students involved.

''It is great students are being very responsible and proactive, looking after them and making sure the police are getting involved.''

She urged high school pupils to ''just wait''.

''There is plenty of time to experience university life, but when at high school your main focus should be in hanging out with your high school friends and enjoying that experience.''

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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