Dear Ms. Principal,
We're concerned about the "red ribbon" program the school is
engaging in. Is the school teaching the children that all alcohol,
tobacco, and drug use is bad?
Tobacco is unhealthy but legal. We don't smoke and we hope our kids
don't choose to, but hope they will make an intelligent choice
about it, and doubt that signing a pledge in first grade is going
to help them make an intelligent choice as teenagers. If anything,
signing pledges because everyone else is doing it is going to have
the effect of teaching them to "go along with the group" with
regards to drugs and alcohol when they're teenagers... and their
peers might be a "group" which would push them in the opposite
direction at that time!
Drinking alcohol -- communion wine -- is part of a sacrament for
Catholics. I doubt the school intends to have the children pledge
not to be Catholics like other members of the family. Of course
we also drink moderately outside of church, and we don't think
that there is anything wrong with that either.
Both of us take drugs every day, such as Singulair for a
respiratory condition. We hope the kids are not being taught
that this is wrong, and that they should never take medicine?
Many drugs are illegal in one context and legal in another.
Oxycontin is a harmful and addictive street drug but also a
beneficial painkiller when used under medical supervision.
We're not really happy with the way this is being
addressed -- and we're not sure that it is possible to give
the issue of harmful and addictive substances the treatment
it deserves with first graders.
But we'd be willing to give it a shot. I work with substance
abuse every day in my social work position, and would be willing
to come into the classroom and talk about the nature of addiction,
with questions and answers, to try to give the kids a simple but
compassionate understanding of the issue.
Is that something that the school would be interested in? We'd be
much happier with that kind of education than children signing
pledges which they don't understand. (They don't understand them.
We asked them if they understood what they signed.)
What do you think about these issues? We would be interested in
discussing them with you.
Mary and Ed
Dear Ms. Principal,