A TikTok video put together by Transition Year (TY) students in Castlerea who wanted to send out a strong message about the dangers of drink spiking has gone viral.
The ‘Don’t Turn Your Back’ video is part of a project by Transition Year students at Castlerea Community School who have entered their work into the Young Social Innovators (YSI) competition. YSI is about encouraging young people to re-imagine the world and empowering them to bring their vision to life.
Teacher Bernie Gormally, one of the YSI Guides for the student project at the Castlerea secondary school along with Julie O’Dea, said the students wanted to to pick a social issue that they felt strongly about. The project is also back by the TY Co-ordinator at the school Ms Yvonne Ryan. “The whole class eventually decided on a drink spiking awareness campaign. It’s a huge issue for young people,” said Ms Gormally.
The TY students are aiming their advisory message at young people who may be out socialising. The spiking of drink is not confined to alcoholic drink – it could be any drink and there is also another spiking phenomenon. “The students’ project also looked at the whole area of injections, they are part of the spiking as well. They did their research – young people could be in a queue in a nightclub, or in a nightclub, and most of the victims don’t even feel the injection. Only, afterwards they would see the marks.”
The making of the Tik Tok video, which is getting phenomenal feedback online, was an intensive process involving writing a script, selecting a piece of music and recording the content. The video is the central part of the YSI project with two other main elements, a survey and a presentation.
The survey focussed on young people’s awareness of drink spiking and its dangers, and the reluctance around reporting the issue. The survey was distributed to a wide range of audiences, from Third Years in the school right up to Leaving Cert students, to senior students in every school in the county, to student unions at three third level colleges. The results of the study are being compiled at the moment.
“When we compile all our data, we are hoping to put together an education pack and send it out to all the schools and colleges that participated in the survey. The survey is an important part of the project and the Tik Tok video is the main part because that was the fastest way to spread the word. And it proved to be so,” said Ms Gormally.
The video is part of a report which has been recently submitted by the students to YSI as part of the competition and next up is a major presentation before adjudicators in Dublin. “The students have to do what is called a speak-out, which is happening on March 27th. Every participating school has to make a two minute presentation,” she said.
A very practical information card has also been devised by the students. “They also compiled information cards that they could put on the back of their phones or in their wallets so they could carry it around with them – it has some information on the dangers of drink spiking and where to get help.”
Their project started off as an awareness campaign but the students are now also looking at what they believe is outdated legislation around drink spiking. “We had Garda Eoin Moore come in who came in to talk to our TY students and our 5th years as well – and we actually got quite a lot of information in the early stages of our project about the legislation. The lack of reporting was the big thing that came out of that for the students,” said Ms Gormally.
Following on from that talk, the students have delved more into the existing legislation and are currently writing to the Justice Minister requesting a review of current law in this area. “It concerns the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997. Currently, the legislation comes under the guise of poisoning. All we are really doing is lobbying the Government and asking them to look at the legislation,” she said.
In a bid to further raise the profile of their YSI project and get as much exposure between now and their presentation in Dublin at the end of the month, the TY students are inviting people to watch their Tik Tok video which can be viewed at the following link: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMYyjBHKr/