Detention for Drinking?

After AHS lacrosse player Nolan Jenkins died in what appears to have been an alcohol-related car accident, some parents want to see kids punished by their schools for drinking, Sarah Berry reports in today’s Daily Progress. Student athletes are required to sign a pledge that they will abstain from drugs and alcohol throughout the season, and it’s suggested that all students should need to do so. The School Board is asking for input from the public, as well as the board’s attorney.

I think giving schools the authority to punishing kids for what they do when they’re not in school is asking for trouble. Underage drinking is already illegal, as evidenced by the tickets issued to 27 AHS and WAHS students for doing so a couple of weeks ago. If a teenager wants to consume wine with dinner under parental supervision, that’s a reasonable and responsible thing; they shouldn’t fear being suspended for doing so.

14 Responses to “Detention for Drinking?”


  • Some parents want to see kids punished by their schools for drinking,…

    Those parents, if they really feel qualified to call themselves that, should perhaps consider taking responsiblity for raising their own children instead of trying to pass the buck off onto the government (aka the public school system).

    There is a limit to what government should be responsible for – raising your children for you is not one of those things.

  • Amen.

  • I agree one hundred percent. If anything, learning how to drink responsibly under the watchful eye of a parent should only serve to produce responsible young adults who do not drink for the sole purpose of getting plastered. If these schools find students drinking on school property or during school hours, then by all means they should be punished for it; after that, parents need to take responsibility for the problems that may arise.

  • And a second, “Amen” to TrvlMn.

  • I’m just guessing (and I don’t know, really) that these parents are not really thinking “oh, I’m too lazy to do this myself—I know, let’s get the government to relieve me of this responsibility! And then I’ll kick back and really enjoy life while they take care of my kids for me!”

    I think, instead, that they’re probably hoping that the threat of some school-related punishment (can’t play your sport, suspension, can’t go to Prom, a black mark on your record that wrecks college applications) will function as some sort of back-up to whatever threats they’re making at home. Something extra, to put teeth into the prohibition on drinking. I would guess that some parents, for whatever reasons, feel they’ve got little to hold over their kids’ heads, and if there’s a school-related punishment, that that might actually motivate their kids.

    Note: I’m not saying this is an admirable position or a good state of things, nor that it would be effective in reducing teen drinking & driving. I’m just saying that it’s probably more complex than “they just don’t want to take responsibility for their kids!” It seems more likely that they’re frustrated and desperate and feel that they’ve tried to take responsibility for their kids without good results, and they’re casting about for some help.

  • TrvlMn,

    Yup. I agree.

    Cecil,

    What you’re describing is a convoluted version of ‘government, please raise my kids for me.’ The fact that there’s a whole explanation and story behind it doesn’t make it something other than what it is.

    The purpose of school is to provide an education. Public schools should not be trying to dictate every facet of students’ lives and characters. When the kid leaves school grounds, what he or she does is none of the school’s business. Period. I am sick and tired of watching public schools continue their ‘nanny government’ march into their students’ and their parents’ lives. I hated it when I was a student at WAHS and I don’t like it any better now.

  • Right on , Jack. Out of school, its the parents responsibility. Or, if a law is broken, the police and courts. The school has no more right to intrude on the out of school life of its students, than one’s employer has to intrude on your life outside the workplace. (And yes, we are moving in that “nanny” direction too.)

  • Pathetic. Those so-called parents should be suspended and hooked up to a Matrix. This is what’s wrong with America today.

    My teenage kids have an occasional glass of wine or a “panaché” (1/2 beer, 1/2 soda or lemonade). When we go to a party, they’re always the ones trying to keep the order when the other teens get way out of control (like pissing all over the fllor and terrorizing the pre-teens) and guess what? Their parents are puritan pricks!

    PARENTS: DO YOUR JOB, YOU WITLESS PISSANTS!

  • Some how I think that those (my word) “alleged parents” who are advocating for school involvement with regards to student behavior off campus… are the same types of people that would just as happily like to allow government to tell you what you can and cannot do in your bedroom in the privacy of your own home under the auspices of morality.

    It’s that same instinct that says, “I know what I’m doing. But I don’t trust the next guy to do his job the way I think he should be doing it.” They probably aren’t even thinking about their own kids, but instead are trying by proxy (the government) to impose/make their values the schools values because they simply don’t trust other parents to do a competent job. Still – shame on them!

    And having said all of the above. I still stand by my first post- Government has no business raising children. If you the parent cannot manage to raise your own children, then maybe you should’ve thought twice before having them, or if you’re feeling in over your head then relinquish custody to someone who is willing and able to do a better job than you are willing to do.

    And that drink Sympatico calls a “panache” I’ve heard more commonly refered to as a Shandy. Also called a Shandygaff. And it’s a nice way to get some extra mileage from a slightly flat beer. :)

  • “I think, instead, that they’re probably hoping that the threat of some school-related punishment (can’t play your sport, suspension, can’t go to Prom, a black mark on your record that wrecks college applications) will function as some sort of back-up to whatever threats they’re making at home. Something extra, to put teeth into the prohibition on drinking.” — Cecil(2)

    School can’t be a punishment unless you want people to drop out as a reward. But, of course, it is understood to be punitive. How else could government force you or your kids to be somewhere? We don’t punish kids with less school. We punish them with more school such as detention and homework. I think there might be overwhelming evidence that threatening someone with a black mark on a report card will not make them stop drinking. The solution here is more freedom, not less.

  • We don’t punish kids with less school. We punish them with more school such as detention and homework.

    Sure we do — OSS, or Out of School Suspension. It was my family’s favorite punishment when my brother and I went to WAHS.

  • cville_libertarian

    Trvlnman & Cvillenative – I agree 100% – as a former school teacher – the schools are not parents and they can’t raise your kids for you. Even the uber-liberal-cum-socialist types hate being put in charge of being parents. We love to blame the failures of the public schools on gooey liberal thinking, but it’s really this insistence that those institutions (and the juvenile justice system and social services) try to act in loco parentis that is responsible for the “failure” of those institutions. They are stop-gap measures – nothing can replace parents – they can be adoptive or foster parents, but parents are required.

    This attempt to further legislate morality and child rearing…well, it’s just invasive claptrap, bound to fail. If parents don’t want their kids to be able to play sports as a ‘punishment’ for any particular behavior, they need to revoke their permission, and be willing to accept the role of being the bad guy, instead of trying to pawn it off on the schools.

  • The truth is that the only people who have any chance of stopping teenage drinking and driving tragedies or underage drinking are parents. And we all know that kids do not always listen to parents. But it’s our best chance. And that does mean being the bad guys sometimes. It also means a lot of peer criticism from other parents. And sometimes teachers. And relatives. And neighbors. And strangers in public places. So what?? The message you send when you put up with your kids anger(and other folks judgements) when they have screwed up and you exact consequences, is that you care more about their safety, well-being, and character, than you do about their feelings at that time. And I will tell you a little secret, if your kids really know what your response will be and they care about your approval, those show downs will not be necessary very often.
    Having said that, I think that right now people are scared for their kids safety and want help with a serious problem. The reality is that there is not much schools can do to control student behavior outside of school even if it were a good idea for them to do so.

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