Students could be handed a weekend detention for driving fellow classmates to and from school without signed permission.
Students could be handed a weekend detention for driving fellow classmates to and from school without signed permission. Contributed

Questions over elite school’s driving and parking ban

A PRESTIGIOUS Brisbane college has started handing out weekend detention to students who drive fellow classmates to or from school or leave their vehicles in a free council car park.

St Joseph's College, better known as Terrace, announced it was clamping down on its young P-plate drivers last month in a letter addressed to parents, caregivers and students.

Students wishing to travel to school with a classmate who has a licence, must gain written permission from their parents, and that of the driver's parents, on a school issued form.

The travel rule also includes attending the college's sporting events at Tennyson.

Four-hour metered parking bays sit directly outside the Victoria St entrance to prestigious St Joseph's College which hands out detention to students who park in a free BCC car park off Gregory Terrace. Picture: Darren Cartwright
Four-hour metered parking bays sit directly outside the Victoria St entrance to prestigious St Joseph's College which hands out detention to students who park in a free BCC car park off Gregory Terrace. Picture: Darren Cartwright

Besides Terrace, it's believed students at the Catholic girl's Stuartholme School, at Toowong, have also been discouraged from driving classmates to and from school.

The Terrace letter sent by Acting Dean of Students Damien Cuddihy warns of the dangers young drivers face and how they are "one of the most vulnerable road user groups".

"The College has a legal responsibility to take all reasonable measures to ensure the welfare and safety of both staff and students," the letter states.

"Students driving to the school must adhere to the conditions outlined."

 

 

 

 

 

The conditions state that:

1: Students are not allowed to take any passengers other than siblings between school and Tennyson either before or after school.

2: In order to travel with a student driver from Terrace to or from home and school passengers (other than siblings) must have permission from both their parent/guardian and the driver's parent/guardian.

3: Our legal responsibilities to providing a 'Duty of Care' for students enrolled at the College means they are not allowed to leave the school grounds during school hours to top up parking meters or move cars.

4: Students are not permitted to part at the Centenary Pool car park due to the Brisbane Council's time limits to legally park in this area for extended periods of time.

A view of St Joseph's’s College from the BCC car park where students have been told they are not allowed to leave their vehicles otherwise they face detention. Picture: Darren Cartwright
A view of St Joseph's’s College from the BCC car park where students have been told they are not allowed to leave their vehicles otherwise they face detention. Picture: Darren Cartwright

The Centenary pool car park has both two and four hour spaces which are free while metered four hour bays, at $1.80 per hour, are situated directly outside the Victoria St entrance to the college.

One parent who contacted The Courier-Mail has questioned where the school's rule over students starts and ends and why students were getting detention.

Specialist injury lawyer Luke Murphy, from Murphy Schmidt lawyers, said the school had no legal responsibility for students driving to and from school.

"If you're talking specifically about from home to and from school, I don't think the school has any legal responsibility to ensure safe passage to and from school," Mr Murphy told The Courier-Mail.

"I think the school is just raising the awareness of the risk factor particularly given the statistics of young males in their early years of driving having such a high confidence of accidents."

 

 

Part of the email directing students not to drive classmates to school without permission and to use a free BCC car park off Gregory Terrace. Picture: Supplied
Part of the email directing students not to drive classmates to school without permission and to use a free BCC car park off Gregory Terrace. Picture: Supplied

 

He said, however, the reference to students not taking classmates to the sporting fields at Tennyson without permission was a different scenario than travelling to and from school.

"That, arguably, may have potential for some liability in that someone may well suggest that they have endorsed the travel with other boys in that way, so I can perfectly understand why the school would be discouraging that," he said.

Mr Murphy understood why students would be prevented from leaving the grounds to top up meters or move cars during school hours.

"Once they're attending school, there's a fair argument the school has assumed responsibility for their wellbeing and if they're' running to a meter and get cleaned up … there's argument that they could be a party to any litigation or claim proves," Mr Murphy said

"They are laying down rules that are in the best interest of the schools and the college."

Both principals of St Joseph's College and Stuartholme School were contacted for comment.



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