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Saturday, July 24, 2010

If You Think Middle School Kids Aren't Drinking - Think Again

Is your child headed to middle school this fall. Welcome to the Brave New World.

Fitting in and finding friends are the middle school child’s whole
world. What their friends tell them to do guides much of their thinking.

Friendships also start to shift, and as children become more of the
people they will be in high school, they choose the kind of children
they’ll hang out with for years to come. If that crowd has changed
or is one you don’t trust, now is the time to talk
with your child and pay attention to where he goes
and with whom.

Don’t expect to hear about drinking problems from school
Administrators, unless information leaks out or your
child is involved.

In 2008, some eighth graders brought alcohol into the lunchroom
of my son’s middle school and I never heard a word from the
school about it. How did I find out kids poured vodka and grain
alcohol into soda bottles and passed it around at lunch? My son
told me. The principal explained the facts of the incident when
I called her – how many kids, where it happened, and how she
found out.

But her answer to additional questions was, “It’s being
addressed, and I cannot say any more because of privacy issues.”
Here are a just a few incidents across the nation that we found researching this book.

At Gulf Breeze Middle School in Santa Rosa, CA, the 2008-2009
school year ended with four students expelled for possessing and
distributing alcohol on school grounds. Eleven students from other
middle and high schools in Santa Rosa were expelled that same week
for alcohol or drug possession.

At Ponus Ridge Middle School in Norwalk, CT, 22 middle school
students were caught consuming alcohol on school grounds. Principal
Linda Sumpter said the students included boys and girls from
sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Allegedly, three of the students
were selling alcohol they brought from home disguised in iced tea
and Gatorade bottles.

At Timberland Middle School in Plaistow, NH, principal Michael
Hogan sent a note home to parents telling them only clear bottles
could be brought to school. Students were caught with alcohol on
school grounds, and because the bottles were colored, they could
not immediately tell the kids were drinking alcohol. The police
were not called.

At Redland Middle School in Rockville, MD, nine sixth and seventh
grade students were disciplined after alcohol was brought into
the bleachers before the start of school. Former principal Carol Weiss
suggested they be suspended or expelled. She is no longer there.

Know that your child will see drugs and alcohol in middle school and start talking them about it now. Persist - even if they push you off.

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