There are no limit of adjectives or expletives that could be employed to describe the plans of Year 12 boys at North Sydney’s Shore School, who had their recent ‘muck-up day’ plans thwarted.
Plans that didn’t include the usual jelly wrestling on the oval, beers in the classroom, or nudie runs across the yard, but rather a host of extreme, vile and criminal activities including the instruction to “spit on a homeless man”, “sack whack a random”, and “deck a stranger”.
The instructions were listed in a manual entitled “The Triwizard Shorenament” (clever) and also included challenges like: “shit on a train”, “break into Taronga Zoo”, drink “6 [vodka] Cruisers in 6 minutes” and “skull 700ml bottle of vodka”.
One simply read: “Get arrested. Must go to the police station in cuffs.”
The plans were intercepted by the school which intervened and notified the police on Tuesday.
A Shore spokesman said the manual appeared to have been created by enrolled students and that the school was “deeply concerned at the unlawful or inappropriate nature of the activities” planned.
“As soon as the school became aware of the document police were informed and an urgent communication was sent to all year 12 parents instructing that under no circumstances are Shore boys to participate in the activities specified,” the spokesman told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Consequences for any boys who do participate will be severe and could include the loss of their place at the school.”
Other instructions involved blatant sexual misconduct and misogyny including the order, to kiss a girl under the age of 15 and an “Asian chick” as well as to have sex with a woman who weighs over 80kg, is aged over 40 or one who is deemed “3/10 or lower [unattractive]”.
This kind of behaviour is nothing new. We’ve seen it time and time again, principally at salubrious, religious and all-boys schools. But just because toxic culture thrives freely isn’t to say it’s reasonable or normal. It’s not something that can be chalked up to the adage of “boys will be boys” or as Donald Trump would label it, “locker room banter”.
This is male entitlement. It’s bred from a ‘born to rule’ mentality and it’s ultimately why the world is in crisis. The behaviour of these young men is a grim reminder that we’re still lightyears away from a world that’s equal.
Very soon these students will be in real jobs, working and living beside people outside of their privileged bubble. How will they go? Will they fight for greater diversity and inclusion? Or use their pre-destined positions of power to champion more women at the table? Not a chance.
The instructions also stated that if caught by police, boys should “say that they were just having fun between the 5/6 of them and won’t mention the tournament.”
In the world today, this culture of cover-ups and protecting and enabling mates, is also alive and well. It manifests in women being sexually harassed and assaulted at work without reasonable support and means to come forward. It results in unqualified men being appointed to powerful roles and maintaining them year after year.
Ten years ago, I lived at an institution– a previously all-male college at The University of Sydney– which operated much like this tournament. Where young women were regularly harassed, degraded or abused and where young, privileged men ruled roost. In a way it was helpful; it prepared me for the “real world”, so that when I was harassed as a graduate at the age of 22, I wasn’t surprised.
But after a decade, and a long period of working for a publication that fights to dismantle these privileged, patriarchal structures, I guess I was more hopeful that change was afoot. That maybe we were getting somewhere.
This so called tournament makes me feel like I was wrong.