Students do time to highlight plight of asylum kids
STANDING in a jail cell crammed with seven other people isn't something most Year 12 students choose to do in their lunch breaks.
But for social justice group at Gladstone State High School Make 8, it's a stance they were more than willing to make.
Austin Byrne, Kayla Wardill, Hannah Gregory, Tash Rudder, Becca Green, Jade Wright, Lucy Champion, Chloe Olig-Walters and Emma Wood are part of a group who want to raise awareness about social justice issues in the world.
This year, they were interested in the high number of detained youth seeking asylum in Australia, and decided to relinquish their freedom to raise awareness.
Make 8 member Lucy Champion said it was a topic they were all passionate about after watching a series of detained youth programs on SBS and ABC.
"There are 789 kids in offshore and on-shore detention centres in Australia. We are raising awareness for these kids," she said.
"The conditions are really harsh, unhygienic and they don't have a lot of room.
"We all believe, so strongly, that children deserve to be carefree, safe and, most importantly, children," fellow member Jade Wright said.
The students confined themselves to a mock jail cell for a week in the middle of the school yard, remaining there for more than an hour each day.
It hasn't been received well by everyone at state high.
"There have been lots of different reactions. We've had food thrown on us and water poured on us and some of us have been in tears," Lucy said.
"It's nothing to what the kids feel."
However, there are students who have commended their peers.
Lucy said the cell was "really cramped" and not everyone could sit on the ground, but it had been a rewarding experience.
"It's been really good. We are so passionate about it," she said.
The students will complete their jail term today.