Grammar suspends 27 kids over rugby trip booze-up
A DRUNKEN bender brought about 27 suspensions and a charge of theft for Toowoomba Grammar School rugby union players on a tour of South Africa.
It was a night to forget on a trip to remember, with the group of elite young sportsmen living down to some of the code's less savoury stereotypes.
A line-up of 27 of the tour's 34 players snuck out for a boozy night on the town during the trip over the Easter break.
"Unfortunately, a good number of them decided to break bounds and go to a licensed premises," vice principal Timothy Kelly said.
"It's a shame because it was really a great trip that has been spoiled by this one thing.
"The vast majority of the boys came back straight away but a couple of them decided to stay on.
"There was an incident with one lad who got into a bit of strife."
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The strife in question involved charges of theft brought about by South African police who accused the boy of stealing a wallet on his big night out.
Sitting in a police cell anywhere is surely a daunting prospect for any high schooler, but on the other side of the world?
Mr Kelly believed the midnight absconder had learned the error of his ways.
"There is a bit of conjecture, but he ended up with police for taking a wallet," Mr Kelly said.
"I've spoken to the boy since, and his parents, and I don't think he'll be causing any more trouble.
"We worked hard with the boys beforehand and told them what our expectations were.
"They let us down and there have been consequences.
"You can't turn a blind eye to this sort of behaviour."
Punishment has been dealt in the form of 27 four-day suspensions and a bout of community service for one student accused of stealing a wallet while out on the town.
No expulsions were issued.
"It's driven by the school, not anyone else," Mr Kelly said of the community service order.
"He's working for outside charities that we sorted out for him.
"By no means is this anything to do with a legal appearance."
The incident has given a sour taste to what was otherwise a successful sporting and cultural tour.
"Apart from this one evening it was an absolute success; a humbling experience for many of the boys," Mr Kelly said.
"They went into villages to work with orphaned children and all sorts of things.
"Overall it was a wonderful experience, but certainly this is disappointing."
The 27 students have all completed their suspensions and have returned to their classes.