Danvers: “Hey Parents, You Suck!”

April 1, 2009

Channel 7 News Broadcast

You and I, friends, have an awful state government. It is a government which believes that you are stupid, undereducated, and incompetent. It is a government which believes that you are sheep to be herded, brainless beasts whose only merit is the taxes that you pay, which in turn keep them fat and lazy. Yes, we live under a government who, instead of admitting their own shortcomings, would stand on a soap box and berate the very people it is sworn to serve for failing to do a job that they were already doing. We are in serious trouble, friends; serious trouble.

What is this great evil of which I speak? What is this lowly act being perpetrated against the citizens of Massachusetts that is so low and reviling that it could only have come from the abhorrent political mess that is our state? (Messachusetts — I like that.) No,  it has nothing to do with Marian Walsh or Deval “Business as Usual” Patrick. It has to do with the Danvers school system and its allegedly incompetent parents.

Brief rundown of the situation:

“DANVERS, Mass. – Parents of students who planned to attend this year’s prom filled the Danvers High School auditorium to attend a social host liability forum Wednesday evening.

“The school made the meeting a requirement for parents to attend in order for their child to attend the event.

“The mandatory meeting had a powerful message for parents, and it was the district attorney who made it clear: if you provide alcohol to a minor or allow them to have it you could be prosecuted.”

Stop. Stop right there. Are you telling me, Danvers school system and District Attorney Blodgete, that we parents are unaware of the dangers of alcohol? Do you plan to sit us down and tell us that minors who consume alcohol are breaking the law? Or that giving alcohol to our children probably isn’t a good idea? Or are you going to get way analytical and tell us the bad things that could happen if our little virgin bundles of joy get loaded on Captain and Coke and hop in the minivan?

I am beyond insulted. The Danvers school system thinks that ALL of its parents are so monumentally incompetent that it must gather them all together and reeducate them A Clockwork Orange-style to make them better parents. Let me make one thing transparently clear, Danvers: I am a perfectly good parent. In fact, I am a great parent. I don’t need parenting lessons from you or anyone else. It is your job to educate my children, and it is my job to teach them life lessons. You stick with reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic, and I’ll stick to drugs, sex, religion, work ethic, love, hygene, music appreciation, cooking, exercize habits, and the consumption of alcohol.

See, the problem here isn’t that parents have failed. Parents will fail, and to a certain degree they want to fail. That’s how teenagers are with their parents.

  1. Parents make rules,
  2. kids break the rules,
  3. parents explain why breaking the rules is bad, and
  4. kid eventually learns.

Now, in this particular case, breaking the rules could get you killed; here’s how this one works:

  1. Parents make rules,
  2. parents emphasize how important it is not to break rules because of X, Y, and Z,
  3. kids go out and break rules anyway,  but not so severely that they do something extraordinarily stupid,
  4. kids come home to angry parents, who
  5. tell kids that while they don’t approve of the kids drinking, they’re glad the kids were smart about it. Just don’t sneak out of the house again, young man/lady!

See, Danvers? I’ve got it figured out. And I’m just an average parent, not some high-fallutin’ expert with a degree in Parenting. I didn’t need a meeting to tell me that I should talk to my kids about alcohol: it’s my job to know that! We parents don’t sit down all of our students’ teachers and lecture them on the importance of them learning the quadratic equation. It’s your job to teach that, and you know how to do it.

Furthermore, I don’t judge you on your teaching methods (unless, of course, they’re hurting children, which they most often aren’t). I don’t assume you math teachers are doing a bad job because someone else’s son got a bad score on the math section of the SATs. Why do you assume that I’m doing a bad job as a parent because someone else’s son or daughter acted irresponsibly with alcohol?

And what, exactly, do you think will happen after this meeting, huh? Our kids have heard the “don’t drink, don’t drink and drive” schpiel over and over again. If the mandatory meeting tells us to go home and tell our kids again how wrong it all is, doesn’t that just amount to one more voice in the droning, monotonous, ongoing bore-fest that is the teenager’s perception of parent-t0-teenager education? If they’re going to drink, nothing I say on prom night is going to stop them from doing so. At that point, the best I can do is cross my fingers and pray that I did a good enough job teaching them to be responsible — or else keep them home from prom altogether.

One thing more: if, as DA Blodgete says, there are instances of teen drinking at prom every year, isn’t that indicative of a problem with the institution? I’d be curious to know if Danvers is one of the overwhelming majority of school systems who teach an ineffective abstinence-only kind of alcohol education curriculum. If so, then they may be part of the reason that when we parents try to talk to our kids about alcohol, they say things like, “Yeah, I know, booze and drugs are bad, I’ve heard it all before.” Well, no, Junior, you haven’t — and whoever is telling you that “drugs are bad” is all you need to know about drugs is an idiot, plain and simple.

In essence, Danvers, the point is this: you keep drug reeducation off of your parental relations agenda, and I’ll keep drugs out of your school. Sound fair? Good. Now LEAVE ME ALONE.

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6 Responses to “Danvers: “Hey Parents, You Suck!””

  1. guswinn said

    Cheers to you too, Mr. Philosopher! 🙂

  2. Spirit said

    Someone seems defensive about their parenting skills. maybe all the beer drinking between you and your girlfriend? 😉

    • thebeerphilosopher said

      Yeah, that’s me. PUI: Parenting Under the Influence.

      All parents are defensive about their parenting skills. For example, I’m fighting the urge right now, Spirit, to rip you a new one for suggesting that I’m negligent to my children because I’m constantly drunk. But I won’t.

      For future reference, don’t poke Papa Bear.

  3. lenny25 said

    Haha…Easy Papa Bear. My high school sent home a letter informing our parents of all of these things a week before our prom. My high school is also located quite near Danvers High…Go figure lol

    • thebeerphilosopher said

      Right, a letter is one thing. If a school puts out information for parents to browse at their leisure, that’s helpful without being presumptuous or insulting. I can choose to read it or not, based on whether I think it’s helpful. But requiring me to go to a meeting assumes that I don’t know what I’m doing.

  4. Spirit said

    thanks for your self restraint, beerphilosopher. the thought of you trying to do such a physical act with words frightened me.

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