Sunday, March 12, 2006

Police Officers and Teachers think drinking is a serious concern

Unfortunately, most of the rest of Ukiah doesn't.
Every year the police raise the issue of teen drinking, and explain about the seriousness of the problem and the problems that it leads to, etc, etc. Well, it is about that time again, and the Ukiah Daily Journal published the usual half-hearted effort to get the message out to teenagers. The message? That parents should do more to talk to kids about drugs and alcohol.
Wow, that's a revelation.
I know that I sound negative, but if parents took a few days to hear what I hear in my classroom, they would be very surprised to find that kids have no fear at all about going on weekend drinking binges. I would say that out of my classes of Seniors, at least 60% do serious drinking on the weekends. Why? According to them, it is simply the only way to have fun. And I'll say it again, they have no fear. Two years ago two kids died when they were drinking and driving. These were fairly popular kids. It didn't hardly phase these students.

Do I have an answer? Well, teens will always experiment, so you will never get them to stop drinking. But is there any way to preach some sense of moderation? I don't really know what parents are saying to their kids, but it ain't working. Alcohol was never a really big issue in my house when I was young. On occasion, I drank a little with my family, but never anything huge. My father never said "Don't drink" when I went out, but he told me to call for a ride home at any time, and that I would be responsible for anything that would happen from the drinking. This usually meant anything illegal, anything social (fighting, friends), and making a mistake with a girl while boozed. I never got sloshed in high school, so I never had those problems. I just never understood the fascination.

Part of the problem is that this part of the world is rampant is accepted drug and alcohol behavior. School officials and cops often tell me that the problem will never be solved until we get a District Attorney that actually does some serious prosecution for these offenses. Hell, Norm Vroman (our current idiot DA) can't handle going after truancy kids and parents. Real effective job.

I'll continue to do what I've been doing. Maybe it's effective, maybe not.
1. First I tell the kids that I really do care about them and I don't want to see them make a mistake or get hurt.
2. Then I tell them on their way out to be safe and try to take life in moderation.

What else is there to do? Tell adults that they'll go to hell if they drink? Sure, real effective deterrent.

Any ideas?
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