Let’s Just BAN Underage Drinking
Posted by bsflag2007 on Saturday, October 6, 2007
Another Howard County High School has jumped on the bandwagon and banned bringing beverages into football games. That brings the current total to three (Wilde Lake, Centennial and now Howard).
The only drinks allowed will be those purchased at the concession stands. According to one of the Principals involved, this is in response to an incident where teenagers were reportedly “drinking under the bleachers” during a football game.
Area principals report a “sense” that there has been an increase in underage drinking in recent years. They also feel there is a link between underage drinking and disruptive behavior at sporting events.
Soooo…. they have decided to “ban” outside beverages from sporting events. This ban applies to students and adults alike and will be enforced by staff members posted at the entrances to the venues.
I am not suggesting that there are any hidden agendas here – like increasing fund raising at school sponsored concession stands.
I am not suggesting that the “feeling” that there has been an increase in underage drinking recently is incorrect— though unless these kids are drink all day, every day it is hard to imagine they are drinking more than my classmates did in high school (back in the olden days).
I am not disputing the notion that alcohol fuels disruptive behavior and may be a factor in altercations at sporting events between rival teams.
However, I would like folks to take a moment and consider this perennial “fallback” position of “banning” certain items or activities purportedly to achieve order.
The “banning” of outside drinks at an outdoor high school football game in order to curb underage drinking and disruptive behavior strikes me as a feelgood measure with little chance of having any of the desired effects.
With the exception of the “report” that some kids were drinking under the bleachers — most of the “game night” drinking occurs in the parking lot or some other location before (and after) the game.
“Most” kids do NOT do their drinking inside school sponsored events – in plain view of teachers and adults —- this ban has the effect of penalizing everyone for the actions of a very very small minority who might better be monitored by having a security officer make an occasional trip under the bleachers
“Most” adults would not “smuggle” alcohol into a high school event for their underage offspring to consume (even those who supposedly provide liquor to their children in the privacy of their own homes)— so this ban effectively penalizes the random parent who totes in his own bottle of water or remaining fast food beverage.
This “ban” will not eliminate the need for staff and security officers to monitor the behavior of the spectators – it will not even reduce the “police” duties of the staff as staff members will now be in the awkward position of “searching” families as they enter the stadium.
Unruly behavior will still have to be dealt with whether it is alcohol fueled or not. Or are we only going to intervene in disruptions that involve alcohol?
Even if the ban does 100% eliminate drinking “on site” does anyone actually believe that will have any effect on drinking “off-site” – other than possibly increase the chances that they’ll do their drinking in the car on the way to the game?
Bottom line – this strikes me as yet another “control freak”, yet completely futile, feel good effort to pretend we are taking a firm stand against a very real danger.
Underage, irresponsible drinking is a problem, though I seriously doubt very much of it is occurring inside the stadium at high school football games.
This ban” on outside drinks for everyone is just sort of silly – and more than a little insulting to the rest of the community.
Ultimately, it is behavior that needs to be monitored — alcohol fueled or not. These “bans” strike me as an abdication of adult responsibility to monitor and educate.