Friday, January 11, 2008

around town

So our little paradise made national news this week (the link is our Star Tribune but it was on CNN yesterday). This is what I heard: The mother of a student at Eden Prairie High School heard that there were photos of E.P. students drinking alcohol posted on their Facebook sites. She found the photos, printed them off, and turned them into the administration. Some of the students are varsity athletes and they've been suspended from their teams. Some of the parents of these students are considering legal action. However, it seems that they won't get help from the ACLU. According to ACLU executive director Charles Samuelson, "Any kid who thinks what they post on a social networking website is private is an idiot."

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that if the ACLU calls you an idiot, your chances for getting some legal redress are probably small.

It was dumb to post the photos on their Facebook sites, and I'm sure they all feel incredibly moronic now. The students huffily claim that the school's actions are not going to effect under-age drinking in any way except that now they will be smarter about what photos they post on Facebook. I always think less idiocy in the world is a win, so I'm happy with that.

I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we have a health code that prohibits alcoholic beverages. I'm never tasted alcohol, except for a few stray bites of tiramisu. Also, I have never once in my life wished that I were not Mormon so that I could get drunk. I do not think moderate drinking is sinful and I would probably drink plenty of wine (and maybe occasional hard liquor) if I were not Mormon, but I have to admit I've never wanted to get wasted. Could someone explain to me why this is considered fun?

Ok, I get it that you might want to try it and see how it feels. You give it a try, and then after you act like a jerk and retch for a few hours you decide it's not for you. I can see that. But I don't understand why kids do it weekend after weekend. When I asked my friends about it in high school, they could never come up with a better answer than "it's fun." But here's the thing: there are a lot of fun things to do that don't make you act disgusting and vomit. So why not do those things? Especially if they are legal?

It seriously bothers me that I don't get this. I like to understand why people make the choices they do, even if they are not choices I would make. And this, I don't understand.


athena said...

i've never had the urge to drink alcohol either. or smoke. olivier drinks wine. i've never seen him drunk though.

that mother is a bit of a nark.

Cocoa said...

I don't get it either. I've never had the desire to try alcohol, but my favorite store in the mall was the tobacco shop. It smelled soooo good! As a teenager I'd go in just so my clothes would smell good. Weird me.

Karen ~ said...

Heck, I'm not Mormon, I can drink as much as I want, and I am totally in agreement with you.

That just is not fun. So I don't get it either.

Mama Ava said...

I have hated the very very few times (as in less than 4) when I've had too much to drink. You don't feel good, you don't feel funny, you don't feel clever. You just feel icky (unless that's a passing stage on the way to really drunk which feels better but looks even worse, I don't know).

I continue to be amazed at how kids don't think ahead. If they are athletes and their activities are important to them, they can't manage their behavior? Then, when legitimately caught, the answer is, don't punish us because it won't help anyway. I am still amazed that this generation of supposedly tech-savvy people still thinks the internet is private and that they are more clever than the average adult. Sadly, I've found it generally relatively easy to outwit adolescents who think they have clever plans.

Athena, I think parents should be narks, at least a little bit. I was working at a volunteer thing a few years ago with a number of women from my church who all had kids that went to a party. There was some trouble that revolved around drinking and fighting and somehow the kids got it managed without the police showing up. These particular girls had told their mothers what had happened. Turns out that all the mothers knew what was probably going to be going on at that party, that the particular mix of students and situation was going to cause trouble, had all talked to their kids, but NO ONE had talked to any other parent, even though all the parents are good friends. Why? Because they didn't want their daughter to possibly be embarrassed by their mother. Apparently, having their children in potential danger is less problematic. That I just don't understand.

Here we have no rules. We have teetotaling conservative Christians, Muslims and Hindus who are forbidden to drink, Americans with the "wait until 21" rule, Europeans who are much more casual about older adolescent (16+) drinking, and those who are doing lots of shots with their grandparents! We have had to rethink the way we articulate our ideas and values on alcohol use without the legal and cultural supports of the "21" age limit as part of that explanation.

Calandria said...

Cocoa--yes, the tobacco thing is a little weird. :-) But I've always loved the smell of coffee.

It enrages me when the parents around here throw up their hands and say, "Kids will be kids" about binge drinking. It's true what you say, Carla--they don't want to be the "uncool" parents who ruin their child's social life by suggesting that drinking is dangerous and might be something to avoid! They care more about their child's popularity than their safety. Both physical and moral safety are threatened by binge drinking.

Here is something I didn't know: Athletes in EP High (and other high schools in MN, I assume) sign a statement that they will not consume alcohol while they are on the sports team. Does this strike anyone else as superfluous? It's the law, for crying out loud. Why don't they sign something saying they won't steal or commit arson? To me that sets them up for the belief that when you are on a sports team, you shouldn't drink, but when you are not we will turn a blind eye.

ave said...

In the three highschools that I attended the popular athletes were notorious for drinking (even at the one in Provo that is mostly LDS). In all three highschools these favored athletes thought that they should be the exception to the rules, as do many professional athletes. Perhaps these kids wouldn't feel so apt to binge drink foor coolness if they weren't treated like demigods.

Life ticks on said...

I think parents should be narks too. If a parent isnt willing to say HEY THIS ISNT RIGHT who is?

Would you rather your child or your niece or nephew to be at one of these binge parties and die because of someone elses drinking? Or that your child have to attend a valued friend and classmates funeral services because a friend did this? No one wants to see this, yet it happens all to often. Heck look in the news from the past two weeks there is a small blurb in a lot of networks about "The Meanest Mom in the World" because she sold her sons car after finding and unopened alcohol product under the passenger seat in his car. He said it wasnt his but he had been warned not to bring alcohol in the car. Sad and hard lesson for him after 3 wks of freedom he has no more.

It seems narkish but you have to think no kid is going to stand up and say this for fear of retribution. When you are in high school your reputation is everything to you.

When I was in high school my junior year some of the cheerleaders were caught drinking and being passengers in a car with football players who were under the influence. The only ones at the time who were suspended were the ones wearing school uniforms, varsity jackets and the driver. There was another in the car but who had no school identifiers on him. So two cheerleaders, 1 varsity football player and one other were suspended from school sports for the rest of the year. This was in 1989.

Also I dont think it is redundant to ask them to sign the waivers. Many parents do not see the problem in drinking and will actually give their children alcohol. Therefore the school is telling them if you want to play here it doesnt matter what your parents say you wont drink and play here. Its a good thing for when they pass on to college as some are now requiring this from their players there too. So lets just say after 4 yrs in high school of not doing it they are prepared for 3-4 more years of it in college.

dave said...

right, so i understand why people get tipsy: i've heard people tell me that's quite fun. for some people, getting a little can really loosen the inhibitions.

in graduate school, i attended lots of parties and most people drank moderately but a few got wasted. it was interested to see how differently people were affected. some just got sillier and sillier, and i can see how you could get plastered, even though you'd feel terrible afterwards. others became - as you say - jerks, and i can see the rationale less, although i think the losing of inhibitions is really a draw. obviously, i see many inhibitions as good, but i can see why some people would feel it would be a nice escape from social conventions. (unfortunately, you can't escape from the consequences, and sometimes those are dire and tragic, so clearly not worth it. but we humans don't always do great mental calculus, especially when we're already tipsy when we decide whether to get plastered or not.

Auntie Lee said...

Funny enough there is a cultural part of teen drinking. Americans by nature seem to do everything to extremes...EVERYTHING. There never seems to be a middle of the road which makes it difficult for parents. I think the best one can do is set a good example whether you drink or not by being responsible, and at the same time each kid is different. The one will have a more propensity for it than the other. Also keep the lines of communication open. Talk about it and don't let the kids feel they can not come to you.
I have one teen almost through the hard part and am starting with a 13year old. They are as different as night and day so I can not treat them the same.

What really bothers me is young women getting drunk in public. With those girls who do, there is a huge rate of date rape and rape in general. It is not fare but girls are more vulnerable than boys. I didn’t make the rules, its just that way. I am 42 and still pay attention to who I am with, what I do and what I consume when I go clubbing. Welcome to the real world.

Calandria said...

dave, i can see what you are saying. you get a little tipsy and then you aren't in any condition to realize that getting smashed might not be a great idea.

but what i'm confused about are the teens who purposely plan, weekend after weekend, to get smashed. that's what i don't get.

auntie, i'm with you that americans tend to be extreme about things.