Seymour students to learn about the danger of coward punches

Avoiding violence: Pat Cronin was 19 years old when he was killed by a coward punch in 2016.

Students in Seymour will learn about the dangers of ‘coward punches’ as part of an innovative anti-violence program being rolled out in more than 200 Victorian schools this year.

Melbourne-based charity the Pat Cronin Foundation is reaching tens of thousands of young people with its powerful Be Wise educational presentations, teaching them about the far-reaching impacts of social violence.

For the first time, Seymour College will be among schools participating in the program, with two presentations to about 300 Year 9 to 12 students on Monday, May 30.

The foundation was established following the death of 19-year-old Pat Cronin from a coward punch attack while on a night out in 2016 and aims to help young people avoid violence by making wise decisions.

“We’re looking forward to bringing the Be Wise program to Seymour, as schools here join others throughout the state embracing this important preventative initiative,” foundation director Matt Cronin, the father of Pat, said.

“We know that thousands of people are hospitalised each year in Australia due to assault. There are often many tragic lifelong consequences for the victims, as well as the perpetrators and families.

“By giving young people everywhere an understanding of Pat’s story, raising awareness of the impact of violence and offering practical tips and strategies to deal with anger and aggression, we hope to reduce those statistics.”

Seymour College school nurse Meaghan Thompson is co-ordinating the visit for the school.

“I’ve been told by a colleague that the presentations are very valuable for students at an age where typically they’re vulnerable to risk-taking behaviours,” she said.

“We’re hoping the presentation can give students strategies to eliminate behaviours that might escalate to violence.

“The message that I see from this, is that one poor decision made in a split moment as a young person shouldn’t define the rest of your life. We’re hoping to give them the tools to prevent that from happening.”

Miss Thompson said the presentation would complement the learnings of students undertaking the school’s Respectful Relationships curriculum.

In addition to Victorian Government funding for the second year in a row, the foundation is sponsored by the Barry Plant Real Estate Group and Le Pine Funerals.

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