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The past few years on Australian television have heralded several pseudo-documentaries about the country’s drug and gang culture, marketable programmes such as Underbelly, and more recently, Bikie Wars.

It is evident that the producers of these shows have overlooked another equally entertaining series of events that promises great appeal to a younger audience, one I’ve christened “Locker-Room Larrikins”.

I know of these events because I’m subjected to them daily, which isn’t as bad as one would think.

Two teenage groups with equally juvenile titles (“Back Row Hooligans” and “Zimper” – don’t ask me why), go at it every day after lunch in the locker-rooms. Mostly it’s just a bit of push and shove, creating an environment not too dissimilar to the hold of a washing-machine in full swing. Apart from being rowdy, it’s nothing more than a minor nuisance.

The “Zimper” tag – any love for some first-class fieldwork?

But this is where I ask the question: how far is too far?

You could argue that these relatively tame scuffles are simply precursors to full-blown gang mentality. But I hardly see how this could arise, which, one might say, could be put down to my lack of expertise in the area. Apart from one or two exceptions though, I can’t single out anyone whom I would identify as truly nasty.

Teachers take a very firm stance on the matter, which I guess is both expected and necessary. Whilst I admit to being quite judgmental toward people at face-value, I would like to think I’m accepting and lenient when defining one’s true character. If I were a teacher, I’d most certainly be known as Mr. Push-Over.

Just today, one of my peers was handed an in-house suspension for his role in tagging lockers (his efforts shown above), which I personally couldn’t care less about. In my discerning eye, he is essentially a good kid.

I know I’m in a biased position to best evaluate the situation, and that you most likely have differing views. But it’s a definite fact that the kids involved are incredibly decent, and shouldn’t be discarded as juvenile delinquents.

The next time you’re tempted to make a harsh judgement based on appearance, I urge you to take the time to reevaluate. If you believe the majority of today’s youth are errant and lawless, then brace yourself for an influx of illiterate criminals to your workplace in the next decade.

By keeping an open mind, you not only help eliminate stereotypes, but you also create a better, more welcoming existence for all those involved.

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