Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

The ‘Meanest Mother’ Isn’t Mean at All (Photo)

January 17, 2013


Bravo to this mother for imposing real and lasting consequences for her son’s serious breach of law and common sense. She is not even close to ‘mean’. In actual fact, if she had done nothing she would have been far meaner. This response may well save her son’s life (not to mention others).

If only more parents were able to deal with incidents in a decisive, exacting, yet fair manner.


Click on the link to read When Do I Admit That the Tooth Fairy Doesn’t Exist?

Click on the link to read The Most Popular Lies that Parents Tell their Children

Click on the link to read The Innocence of Youth

Click on the link to read Kid’s Cute Note to the Tooth Fairy

Click on the link to read A Joke at the Expense of Your Own Child



Drunk Lecturer Forces Students to Sit 23-Hour Exam Without Toilet Breaks

July 4, 2012

Incredible story! Interesting that no student sitting the test stood up to her during the exam:

A drunk lecturer at a Russian university forced her students to sit a 23-hour-long exam – not even allowing them toilet breaks.

Lecturer Landysh Zaripova, however, frequently left the room and students claim it was to top up her drink.

Students said Physics lecturer Zaripova ‘stank of alcohol’.

One student told the Russian media: ‘Towards the end, everyone was just sitting there, totally exhausted.

‘The lecturer would go into another room, drink, come back and start telling us about her business.’

The exam started at 10am on June 26 and went on overnight finishing at 9am the following morning.

The incident took place in the Russian province of Tatarstan at Kazan State University in the province’s capital.

‘Do you think I am stupid enough to come to class drunk?’ Zaripova told Russian newspaper L!fe News.

 She claims she was sober and that the students decided to take revenge on her for failing them.

The head of the University’s Physics Department, Albert Aganov, denied that the lecturer was under the influence of alcohol. He said: ‘I would have fired her immediately, if I had seen her drunk.’

He added that even if the allegations were found to be true it would not lead to the dismissal of Zaripova as she is on a 5 year contract which cannot be broken.

If only the rest of society had such trusting and supportive bosses. Job security must be very high among Russian academics.

Come to think of it, I’ve sat for exams that have felt 23-hours long.

Teaching Children How to Argue

June 19, 2012

I noticed while teaching students about persuasive writing how difficult they find it to form opinions of their own. It is almost as if children today do what they have learned to do without ever reflecting on the reasons why. This poses a significant problem when it comes to peer pressure. If you don’t have the tools to work out right from wrong, positive from negative, you can be very easily lead.

This unfortunate consequence was part of the findings of a recent study undertaken by the University of Virginia:

WHILE parents have been teaching their kids not to argue with adults for generations, new research shows it may have its benefits.

A study by the University of Virginia shows that young teenagers who are taught to argue effectively are more likely to resist peer pressure to use drugs or alcohol later in adolescence.

“It turns out that what goes on in the family is actually a training ground for teens in terms of how to negotiate with other people,” said Joseph Allen, psychology professor and lead author of the study, results of which were published in a recent edition of the journal Child Development.

Prof Allen said that parents are often “scared to death about peer pressure” but also frustrated by argumentative children.

“What we’re finding is there’s a surprising connection between the two,” he said.

Prof Allen said that teens “learn they can be taken seriously” through interactions with their parents.

“Sometimes, it can be counterintuitive to tell parents to let their teens argue with them,” said Joanna Chango, a clinical psychology graduate student who worked on the study.

In fact, learning effective argumentation skills can help teenagers learn to “assert themselves and establish a sense of autonomy”, she said.

I don’t agree with the assertion that we should encourage our children to argue with us. Instead, teachers and parents alike, should encourage students to question everything, to feel confident to form their own opinions and not to follow a crowd just for the sake of safety in numbers.
Click on the link to read my post on beating peer pressure.

School Gets Tough on Misbehaviour and the Parents Vent

April 22, 2012

Whatever used to work when it comes to behaviour management methods (including the awful practice of corporal punishment) no longer does. Suspensions are distributed like handouts and are becoming increasingly meaningless. Detentions have never successfully changed attitudes or reformed students.

I have argued for a while that schools need to address their culture. They need to become more interested in the types of offences their student body commits both within and outside of school. They need to work with the parents and support them, even when the problem is not considered a school responsibility. This shows that the school really does care about the welfare of its students and has a desire to see that its children are making healthy lifestyle choices at school and at home.

It is sad that when a school does take these steps, they are often met with a “a tsunami’’ of outrage:

A new school policy that would hold students accountable for their actions year-round has generated a storm of opposition, according to Dedham officials, and has been put on ice until it can be reviewed and possibly rewritten by a newly established subcommittee.

The policy, which was approved in late March by a majority of Dedham School Committee members, spells out school penalties for violence and drug or alcohol use, even if the actions occur off school property when school is not in session.

It also calls for punishing youths who are at the scene of, but not participating in, such activities. Selectman Paul Reynolds said his board was in the dark about that aspect of the new policy until selectmen were overwhelmed by “a tsunami’’ of outrage.

“I sympathize with these parents,’’ said Reynolds, who will sit on the subcommittee that examines the document with Selectman Carmen Dello Iaccono, Police Chief Michael d’Entremont, and several School Committee members.

“Holding a club over kids’ heads 52 weeks a year with increasingly punitive sanctions sends the message that we suspect the worst of them, instead of expecting the very best from them,’’ said Reynolds.

Actually, I think it’s the parents that try to block this sensible policy that are sending the message that they suspect the worst of their children, instead of expecting the very best from them.

Kids and the Choking Game

April 16, 2012

A dull, dormant life can not be fully responsible for the rise of the infamous “choking game” played largely amongst kids, but it surely must be a contributing factor. The constrictive and restrictive nature of school, regulations, non-active lifestyles and anti-socialised extra-curricula activities must be factored into the increased popularity of this dangerous game.

Although the choking game is not new, very little research has been done to investigate how often it happens or which kids are more likely to try it. But the new study published today in the journal Pediatrics gives a snapshot of who is engaging in this risky activity.

Researchers surveyed nearly 5,400 Oregon eighth graders, and 6.1 percent reported playing the choking game at least once in their lives. Among those who had played, 64 percent had played more than once and 27 percent had done it more than five times. Boys and girls were equally likely to have participated.

The researchers found that kids who participated in the game commonly engaged in other risky health behaviors. About 16 percent of boys and 13 percent of girls who reported using alcohol, tobacco or marijuana on the health survey also reported playing the choking game. Girls who reported being sexually active were four times as likely to participate in the choking game as those who had never had sex.

Robert Nystrom, adolescent health manager at the Oregon Public Health Division and one of the study’s authors, said it’s significant that kids who play the choking game are also experimenting with alcohol, drugs and sex.

“Risk-taking is a part of normal adolescent development. The fact that a lot of adolescents are participating in these behaviors shouldn’t surprise us,” Nystrom said. “What we want to do is prevent it.”

Nystrom noted that the choking game is different from autoerotic asphyxiation, where the goal of near-strangulation is sexual gratification. In the choking game, kids simply seek the rush that comes from passing out.

Before adults become hysterical about this growing trend, I ask them to consider the life of a standard teenager and reflect on what we can do to help them appreciate the real thrills that life has to offer.

Middle-Class Children and Alcohol

April 15, 2012

Long thought to be a largely lower socio-economic problem, alcohol abuse seems very much alive and well among middle-class children. This presents a very gloomy picture for what the future has to offer.

More than one in three of those born in professional households had downed a full glass before reaching their teenage years, the statistics show.

The 35 per cent figure among the middle classes is almost twice the level found among 12-year-olds across all economic groups.

Experts said that most children who had drunk alcohol at such a young age were getting it from their own homes.

While some were secretly raiding well-stocked drinks cabinets, many more were being allowed to drink by parents who believed that it would help them to develop more mature attitudes towards alcohol.

The Ipsos Mori poll for charity Drinkaware, which is funded by the alcohol industry to promote sensible drinking, surveyed more than 500 parents from the social groups ABC1 and their children, aged between 10 and 17.

This also reminds us that we are not doing nearly enough to remedy the problem.

The Worrying Trend With Children and Alcohol

March 18, 2012

It really bothers me when there is a real problem facing our children and instead of tackling it head-on we get distracted by minor factors. A disturbing number of kids are turning to alcohol and instead of getting to the crux of the issue, experts are worried about alcohol advertising::

ALCOHOL is fast becoming the No. 1 threat facing Australian children and there is no adequate system in place to stop them being exposed to alcohol advertising, Australia’s foremost child health expert, Fiona Stanley, says.

The former Australian of the Year will chair a new alternative alcohol advertising review body, which health experts say is needed because the industry-based code is failing to protect children.

The Alcohol Advertising Review Board will assess complaints from members of the public about alcohol advertising, and will look at areas not covered by the current code, such as sponsorship or advertisement placement.

My tip: You could ban all advertising of alcohol and it still wouldn’t have a meaningful effect on child consumption. I really respect what Fiona Stanley is doing, I just don’t think much will come of it.

Beating Peer Pressure

February 24, 2012

Is a good sense of humour enough to ward off the threat of peer pressure? Child psychologist Kimberley O’Brien, thinks so:

A child psychologist from Sydney’s Quirky Kid Clinic said people should not trivialise peer pressure by saying it happens to everyone.

“We shouldn’t say it’s normal and it’s fine because it’s not,” Kimberley O’Brien said.

Ms O’Brien said parents need to encourage their children to choose friends they are comfortable with.

“It’s important to teach kids to be assertive. If parents model that behaviour and speak up in the community if they feel something is not right then children learn to do the same.”

The Quirky Kid Clinic advises teenagers to make a quick exit if they are feeling uncomfortable in a situation. They teach young people how to use humour to defuse a potentially risky situation.

“They can just laugh and say I’m not into this and leave,” Ms O’Brien said.

“If they are feeling under pressure, we encourage kids to trust their early warning signs and gut feelings and speak up and ask for help.”

Ashley Long and her friends had been drinking alcohol when the helium party trick turned deadly. The inebriating effects of alcohol can make it increasingly difficult to avoid being pushed into risky behaviour.

“[Teenagers] are much more easily influenced if they have been drinking, even physically if they are stumbling or can’t move properly,” Ms O’Brien said.

“They may have lost their phone or friends so it is more difficult to seek help.”


Let Principals Breathalize Their Students

December 9, 2011

If your school is being effected by intoxicated students, why shouldn’t you be allowed to do something about it?

I am very passionate about the importance of firm but fair leadership, especially when it comes to cleaning up a school’s culture and environment. Coming to school drunk is completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

Whilst it is never ideal for a Principal to make his/her students take a  breathalizer test, doing nothing about the problem is far less ideal.

A high school principal in northern British Columbia has been asked to stop using a breathalyzer to test students in school for alcohol use.

A youth said that she and a friend were suspended from Fort St. James Secondary School last week after a blood alcohol screening test showed traces of alcohol.

Civil rights activists call the incident extraordinary and disturbing, but the Ministry of Education has no policy on the use of breathalyzers in public schools.

Kecia Alexis, a first nations student in Grade 11, said she and the other student were suspended after principal Ken Young confronted them when they arrived at school late after lunch.

Both agreed reluctantly to take the test after being threatened with suspension. Ms. Alexis, who said she hadn’t been drinking, said the device gave two “error” readings before she blew the lowest reading, a blood alcohol level of 0.01. (For drivers, the “warn” range for a blood alcohol level is 0.05 to 0.08, while a “fail” is over 0.08.)

Ms. Alexis said she argued with the findings, “but he said he doesn’t talk to students who are drunk. I said, ‘I’m not drunk.’”

She was given a three-day suspension. Despite high drop-out rates for first nations youth, Ms. Alexis returned this week determined to finish her schooling. She said she wants to be a teacher.

Civil rights activists can be a pain in the neck and this is a prime example of their constant interferences. When kids turn up to school and are suspected of being under the influence, it is surely the Principal’s right to do something about it. Breathalizing establishes that there is a problem and therefore fairly allows the Principal to metre out appropriate consequences.

It’s not as if a breathalizer test is invasive or painful. It’s not a blood test or vaccination – just a deep breath.

By not allowing Principals to effectively deal with the problem, civil rights activists are giving tacit approval to kids who decide to turn up to school under the influence. How is that a good thing?

Drunken Teachers Beat-Up

November 21, 2010

The Sunday Telegraph should be reprimanded for an appalling article which claims that teachers in Catholic schools drink alcohol in the staff room on a Friday evening.  The article doesn’t ring true, seems designed for shock value rather than true journalism and fails to give proper evidence to back up its claims.  Read the article here:

Example 1:  The Sunday Telegraph understands many of the 200-odd Catholic schools in NSW to have refrigerators stocked with alcohol in staff rooms and to publicise cheap alcohol.

Yeah?  How many of these schools?  Prove it!

Example 2:  Drug & Alcohol Research & Training Australia’s Paul Dillon said he had grave concerns about the example being set for students by the behaviour.

What behaviour?  You have yet to prove such a culture of drinking exists.  You have yet to name 1 of the 200 schools.

Example 3: “Certainly I have confronted schools and principals about the practice and the worst thing I’ve seen is actual prices of alcohol pinned on fridges,” Mr Dillon said. “Young people go into the staff room, they see the fridges.”

Students do not have access to staff room fridges.  Heck, they shouldn’t have access to the staff room!  How many schools have you visited with alcohol prices?  Does it really matter anyway?

Example 4:   “There is also the issue that [teachers] are doing this on a Friday night. They are then getting behind the wheel and driving home.

“When I’ve raised this, the teachers have become very, very defensive. They say things like, ‘It is our right to do this’.”

If they went straight to the pub it would be none of your business, and since you have yet to establish that this is a clear problem, I still ascertain, it is none of your business.

So what do we have here?  Figures to prove its a problem?  Nope.  Pictures or video footage of beer-loaded fridges and booze-ups? Nope.  Can we name and shame a school that has transgressed in this way?  Sorry, we don’t have that information.  How about a quote from a student who witnessed this behaviour or saw evidence of alcohol in the staff room?  No, we don’t have that either.

There is no story here.  If I was affiliated with a Catholic school I would be ropable.  What an abominable piece of gutter journalism!

Shame on you Sunday Telegraph!

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