Yesterday I read a fascinating thread on an Essential Kids forum, regarding 'Drinking Culture at Primary School'.
The title shocked me. There is a drinking culture in primary schools? Amongst 11 and 12-year-olds? Gosh, the kids are starting earlier and earlier.
But no, that's not what the thread was about at all. In fact, it was about the drinking culture amongst parents. As the writer, a new parent at a local Catholic primary school, reported that her school principal had told children at assembly to make sure their parents RSVP'd for a cocktail party on school premises. Apparently, the principal told the kids that it was important that parents 'have fun' and drink a beer or wine, just like kids had fun playing with their friends.
Okay. So that's not quite as bad as pre-pubescent kids drinking at lunch time. But is it bad anyway? Was the writer justified in her complaint?
Well, yes. Certainly the principal probably could have phrased his little speech to the kids more diplomatically.
But I'm not sure this is all this mum is objecting to. She seemed to think that there is no place for alcohol at school functions, even when kids are not present.
And to this point, I disagree. Now, it is true that our society has a big problem with alcohol. It is true that around one in five people over the age of fourteen consume alcohol at dangerous levels at some point in their lives. However, it is also true that most drinkers are not problem drinkers. And statistics show that the vast majority of those who are problem drinkers are aged between 18 and 29, an age group generally not represented amongst primary school parents.
And besides, our society has a problem with lots of things. Food, for example. Obesity affects around 61% of Australians; that's nearly two in three people. Should we stop serving cake at school functions because it can contribute to obesity? Or cheese? Of course not, because people who attend school functions are adults, and can make their own decisions. If they want to consume a glass or wine or a slice of cake, as is both legal and culturally appropriate, then they should be able to do so.
And let me tell you, I only drink in moderation, but a school trivia night without alcohol sounds like hell to me. I'll take the cocktails, thank you very much.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.