A tough lesson for Riverland teens

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26 June 2020 | Farm Table

One-punch tragedy a tough lesson for Riverland teens

School students from across the Riverland have been urged by the anti-violence Sammy D Foundation to put an end to bullying and fighting.

The foundation began 12 years ago after 16-year-old Sam Davis was killed as a result of a single punch to the back of his head while he was trying to break up a fight at a party in Adelaide.

Glossop High School student Hayley-Joe King said the story of Sam’s death resonated with her, as she and her peers had witnessed teenage fights.

“It is a big deal. It affects more than the person being hit. It can affect the whole community and it’s really devastating,” she said.

Glossop High School students Hayley King and Tahlia Dillon said the anti-violence message was crucial, as fighting occurred in their region.(ABC Riverland: Samantha Dawes.)
Fellow student Tahlia Dillon said she felt learning skills like how to deescalate a potential fight was crucial.

“It would be best to get other people to help us break up a fight or just walk away,” she said.

“It does happen in our region and when we go out. We need help to put a stop to all the fights that happen.”

‘We want them to be prepared’

Neil Davis has used the death of his son to spread a message of mateship and safety among Australian teenagers.

 Sammy D Foundation founder Neil Davis says walking away from fights will save young lives.(ABC Riverland: Samantha Dawes.)
“So far the Sammy D foundation has spoken to over 135,000 people. That’s 135,000 people who have now been impacted by that one punch too,” Mr Davis said.

“For those country people who might say ‘violence like that doesn’t happen here’, what about all those kids who will go to university in the city?”

“We want them to be well prepared and have the tools to look after themselves.”

For Mr Davis, walking away from a physical altercation is the key to saving lives.

“If you’re out somewhere and you know trouble is going to start, grab your friends and say, ‘come on, let’s go.'”

“We want people to have their friends for the rest of their lives, because we know Sam’s friends would do anything to have him back.”

“We’ve got testimonials from people writing to us, saying they were out somewhere and a fight started, and they grabbed their mates and walked away.”