Does letting the grown-ups get stuck into the pinot grigio at the school dance send the wrong message?
There she was, cutting a lonely figure on the dance floor, dancing the Funky Chicken. Which would have been fine, except there actually was no actual dance floor. Or music.
Welcome to my daughter’s Year 5 Christmas concert. Impromptu dance courtesy of the open bar.
This was my first-ever school function where alcohol had been a part of the festivities. To be fair, it was 39 degrees outside and this lady was simply letting her hair down after what had been a big year on the organising committee. She was enjoying herself and hurting no one. Although, just maybe, this really wasn’t the right place for her to be having one too many shandies.
As my children progressed throughout the schooling system and especially since we moved to Victoria, I realised the involvement of alcohol at school functions is quite common. That even at the annual Primary State School fete, I could secure a glass of Pinot and wander the grounds seemingly unpoliced.
The fact that these incidents took place on school grounds and under the influence (even if it wasn’t in an excessive amount) of alcohol, has made many schools rethink and implement new policies. The negative impact and the fact that there is often simply no place for alcohol at many of these events, means that the access, at many events, will simply be phased out.
One mother, who called the Australian Drug Foundation with concerns, said she was shocked to see fathers bringing eskies of beer to school Christmas concerts.
''I like a drink too, but this is a year 6 concert that goes for 90 minutes. My concerns are based around role modelling and exposure to alcohol advertising. When I complained to the school board, the uproar at the meeting was absolutely astounding. They were so emotionally attached to drinking they couldn't imagine having alcohol taken away from these events.”
Please don’t get me wrong, I understand that it’s a very different situation where say a Trivia night is held, independent of children, to raise funds for the school. Of course alcohol is a big part of these nights. What I’m more interested in and worry about, are the Primary School events like school discos that set up an open bar as “compensation” for parents who have wait for their children for let’s face it, two hours max.
Look, I like, some would say love, a drink as much as the next person but I also believe that there is a time and a place. I for one, don’t think it should be involved when the children are present and present on school grounds. I have absolutely no problem with it, like I said above, if this is part of an adult only fundraising or “fun” event. If though, we are attending an information night at the school, even independent of our children, we are there to listen and respect that the information being given to us is important. To drink should be social and it has its time and place.
Am I just being a big old killjoy though?
Do you think alcohol has a place at school functions?