This week the Australian Rugby League moved to ban schoolboy rugby league matches from taking place on grounds with alcohol branded advertising.

Since the 80s the best schools around the country have played fixtures as curtain raisers to NRL games, giving the boys the opportunity to play on the famous grounds in front of a few thousand fans.

Bundaberg is a major sponsor of the NRL and as such have their insignia emblazoned across the field.

Apparently the ARL received a single complaint stating that by having schoolboys playing on such a field – coupled with the fact that these games are televised – amounted to having children endorsing or advertising alcohol.

The ARL saw fit to move all remaining 2012 games to a smaller ground, although the long-term future is in doubt due to television companies requiring certain ground infrastructure in place to televise the games.

At the risk of incurring the wrath of some – I think that despite having the best interests of society at heart, this is as big an overreaction as I have seen.

In another story, a private girls school has decided to breath test Year 12 students before allowing them entry to a school event. Assuming that this is not a stand-alone gesture this is a good move. The school has informed parents in an attempt to dissuade parents from facilitating pre or post-event parties where alcohol will be served.

I’m also interested to see what the school plans to do should any of their girls arrive at the event intoxicated. A letter to the parent suggests their enrolment could be in jeopardy.

This kind of zero tolerance approach always gets attention in the media, but I am concerned that most zero tolerance approaches are harder on the person (in this case kids) than they are on the issue or behaviour. I wonder how effective they are in the long term?

Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, writer and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at and tweets at @danhaesler