A teenage girl was left ‘distressed’ after she and several other high schoolers were allegedly asked to change their shirts out in the open, WAtoday reported.
The students, aged 13 to 15, had been swimming as part of a retreat at Forest Edge Recreation Camp near Waroona Dam where it’s claimed that camp staff suggested they take off their wet shirts, despite there being no change room.
The camp’s website said that the ‘bush adventure walk’, designed to teach map-reading skills and navigation, included ‘getting wet and muddy’.
Curtin University, which ran the retreat, staff at the Department of Education and a school principal have admitted it was ‘inappropriate’.
Lawyers for Forest Edge told WAtoday what happened in a statement:
“At the end of one part of the activity the children are wet and given the option of changing their shirts,” it read.
“They were not asked or told to ‘strip off their clothes’.
“They were not told or instructed to undress in front of peers and staff.
“The children who wanted to change clothes were directed to separate areas one for boys, one for girls. The two areas were screened by thick bush and located so that neither group could see the other. The decision to get changed was left to the individual child.”
The mother of the distressed 15-year-old said her daughter was “not OK”.
“She’s more affected by the fact that she thought she was doing the right thing by saying something bad happened and she’s realised now that it’s best to just keep it to yourself and not say.”
The complaint has resulted in the installation of Colorbond screens and an assurance that adequate changing facilities were provided in the future.