Sitting pretty at Alstonville
A LUNCH table lottery system, where groups of students are allocated their own table, is keeping the peace at Alstonville High School.
The system has been in place for as long as Year 12 students can remember - long before the tragedy at Mullumbimby High, when a fight over a lunch table resulted in the death of Jai Morcom.
School captain Keely Gordon-King said the system 'prevented any tension' at lunch time and recess over 'who sat where'.
“When you have a lot of students and limited tables I can see how conflict could occur. This system prevents that,” she said.
At the start of every year students from Alstonville High form a group, represented by a table spokesperson. The group is allocated a random table for the year and is responsible for it.
Next year the school will allow students to customise their own table by painting them with a pre-approved theme.
“It's about table pride. I think if we can paint our own tables it will prevent any vandalism and grafitti,” vice captain Will Maxwell said.
The Student Representative Council at Alstonville High is working on fundraising for new hardwood tables for the personalised tables.
Sven Wright, media spokesperson from the Department of Education and Training, agreed the lunch table lottery system was 'a good idea' but the department was 'not going to be prescriptive about rolling out the intitatives to other schools'.
“Certainly schools are encouraged to share things that work well, but it's up to the individual school,” Mr Wright said.
The system might work for a number of schools but not others which may have a different layout. It's horses for courses,” he said.
The issues of table territorialism was raised by parents and students this month in the aftermath of Jai Morcom's death.
It is believed the fight began over tables in the schoolground.
Locals believed it involved a group of 'emos' and a group of 'football heads' territorial about where they sat.
There are several different accounts of what may have occurred, including reports that Jai was thrown against a wall before being repeatedly kicked where he lay on the ground.
Despite reports and rumours that Jai was deliberately attacked, police sources say it may have been a tragic and inadvertent accident that happened in the course of the melee.