Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’
Swampscott, Mass., is an affluent community of 15,000 in Boston’s North Shore suburbs. It has had a notable drug problem, with 17 overdose deaths in the last few years among those in their teens and 20s, and numerous others not dead but apparently carrying on the message Swampscott natives Fran Sheehan and Barry Goudreau endorsed on the Boston song “Smokin’.”
Bad influences. Bad!
A new principal, Layne Millington, came to Swampscott High, and he decided, after seeing a “huge number of incidents landing on my desk involving drugs and alcohol,” that it was time to frog-march parents in for a meaning to shake them by their collective lapels and slap them upside their collective heads to make them aware of the problem. He did this with the superintendent’s support. From the Salem News:
Asked about reports that drugs are “all over the high school,” Superintendent Lynne Celli replied simply, “They are.”
Recently, Millington’s approach included a surprise appearance by search dogs at the high school — he was heartened by how little contraband they found.
Ah, hell, let’s just go with the superintendent.
So Millington scheduled a meeting for Jan. 10, then browbeat parents into showing up by telling them their children that they (the kids) could not participate in any after-school activities, including sports, if they (the parents) didn’t show up.
Now, he hopes to form “a partnership with the parents, who are really the kids’ first teachers.” To do that, he sees the need for a meeting that carefully spells out the entire effort and the parents’ role in it.
In the past, Millington said, the announcement of such a meeting would draw only a handful of people. His decision to call a “mandatory meeting” won unanimous approval from the superintendent and the School Committee.
There are a lot of parents upset over this. Actually, the only one who appears to be speaking — or being asked — is Judith Brooks, the mother of a ninth-grader, who appeared in the Salem News and on local Boston television as a “concerned parent.” Because in the news, a parent “speaking out” is always a “concerned parent.” From the Salem News:
“The school has no legal right to compel parents to do anything,” said Judith Brooks, the mother of a ninth-grader [dang it, I mentioned that already]. Acknowledging the concerns of school officials, she expressed the need to be “treated like adults” and added, “We’re not under their thumb.”
As the hippie basketball player in Greensburg, Ind., may well learn, schools get to do all sorts of dastardly things, like make you cut your hair or send your parents to an anti-drug meeting, to let you play sports. So the parents of Swampscott, who either don’t give a shit or feel like it’s not their problem, are stuck.
Except that Millington might not have needed to be so drastic. From a 2009 article in the Swampscott Reporter:
The Swampscott Drug and Alcohol Task Force was pleasantly surprised when the Little Theater at the Middle School filled with parents that night in the first of two sessions planned to educate parents about the real problems in Swampscott.
So maybe they DO give a shit — even if their children’s sports are at stake! Maybe not enough to actually solve Swampscott’s drug problem, but maybe enough that they don’t have to be frog-marched to school on a single night during which they might have a legitimate conflict.
Alas, in his zeal, Layne Millington might have done more harm than good in his relations with the parents at large. Next time, he should propose a webinar. It is an affluent community after all; presumably they have computers.
The above ad is airing in South Africa. It’s a product of the ARA, the country’s Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use. (Why not IARAU? Beats me.) Meaning, every Miller you drink is could be paying for parent company SAB’s portion of producing and airing this ad.
That it was made by the alcohol companies themselves explains why drunk dad is merely annoying and embarrassing — and why his beer has a brand-covering koozie. Or maybe South African drunk sports dads are more tame. All I know is, in the United States, particularly in Massachusetts, drunk dad confronting the rugby coach about why his son is on the bench would have ended with somebody getting a beatdown.
Brad Young, a girls’ high school softball coach in Frederick County, Md., is now a former softball coach because he hosted a beer-fueled party for his team. At least, he did in the eyes of the school board he says fired him this week because of the presence of some brewskis at the annual postseason cookout he hosts at his house. His JV coach got canned, too.
From the account given by a parent on the above link, Young, nor his players, did not partake of any alcohol during the party. However, some friendly and thankful parents thought they would bring a few six-packs over as a gesture of thanks.
And Young might have his own message of thanks: Thanks, parents, for getting me fired! Turns out school officials deemed Young’s house school property for the purposes of the event, and thus in violation of a rule banning alcohol on district grounds. So he got a punishment severe enough that he may as well have brought the team into his school office and knocked back jello shots with them before getting them all pregnant. I hope none of those parents smoke, because if anyone finds out they lit up, Young would be in violation of the school’s no-tobacco policy, and the district would hire him so it could fire him again. (Young is not a teacher, so he’s completely out of the picture after five years as coach.)
The Frederick County schools, as often happens when a district does something way overboard in the name of protecting the children, is refusing to comment on its decision. It’s not even clear who made the decision to fire him. However, it’s a good bet the school’s lawyer(s) recommended Young’s dismissal because if you allow the presence of beer at someone’s house at a casual team function, then you get a Mom whipping out a glass of chardonnay when the math club gets together at a member’s house. Eternal vigilance, people, eternal vigilance!
Between this and Michael Kinahan, the fine folks at the Patriot-Ledger in Quincy, Mass., are having all the youth sports fun. The headline reads: “Weymouth schools looking at fundraising in front of liquor stores.”
What a great idea! The liquor store in my neighborhood is jam-packed every day, thanks to low prices and great selection (thanks for stocking Chimay, Three Floyds and Great Lakes!). I’m sure the people carting out five cases of cognac at a time or enough Lite to stock Soldier Field have a little walking-around money they can stick in a kid’s bucket, particularly because my store only takes cash. Given the lines of people waiting to park, the kids could go car to car. Brilliant idea, Weymouth schools!
Oh, wait a minute: the story is about Weymouth possibly NOT wanting to have kids panhandle in front of liquor stores.
Go pull some money out of their Bunghole, kids. (This is the real name of a real Boston-area liquor store.)
From the Patriot-Ledger:
[A] school committee is reviewing a proposed policy change that would ban students from collecting spare change outside package stores. The proposal was made by Weymouth’s substance abuse prevention team, which helps administer a federal Drug Free Communities grant.
Marilyn Frano, Weymouth’s substance abuse prevention coordinator, said she came up with the idea after she heard that Weymouth High School athletes were asked to collect change – a practice known as “canning” – outside liquor stores on Super Bowl Sunday to take advantage the high volume of business on that day.
Frano said the proposal is part of the town’s push to dissociate drinking and celebration. Frano said she has reached agreements with several fraternal organizations in town that say they will not serve alcohol during youth banquets.
She likened such changes to those that eventually contributed to marked declines in smoking.
I’m sure Marilyn Frano’s heart is in the right place, though I think the recession is doing the job of disassociating drinking from celebration. But, man, when youth sports are apparently hurting for money like everybody else, what’s with all these people who want to cut off fundraising from their most popular sources? Do you want morals, or a ballfield without ruts?
Speaking of smoking, here’s a fundraising idea. If you don’t like children standing in front of liquor stores, have them stand outside of office buildings and restaurants (depending on your state’s indoor smoking law) to shake down the nicotine addicts cast outside. The beauty is, you’ll have more than a fleeting moment to make your pitch. Eventually you’ll get something because no one can be so callous after standing out for so long with a kid pitching for a good cause. You might want to excuse the asthmatic kids from that gig, however.