...my head, Oh, my aching head.
Meeting from 6 pm last night until 12 fucking thirty.
NOT a happy camper this morning. (Up at 6 am to get my adorable children, all sleep-tumbled and droopy, off to school complete with a fresh-faced attitude and a belly full of nutritious breakfast. Ugh.)
Had to sit through a report detailing a program which I fundamentally DO NOT agree with. And it has such widespread community involvement, that it's fairly ridiculous to start tilting at windmills to remove it from the High School. It's an anti-drunk-driving campaign, which on the face of it seems like an appropriate thing.
Except, it simulates the deaths of High School students by setting aside one day a year where student volunteers are pulled out of class (at 15 minute intervals) and then return to class wearing white face to show that they have died. A car crash is staged on the football field, the fire and rescue comes to pry the High School actors out of the car, one is heli-vacced to a hospital. For every child that dies throughout the day, the parents are notified at work. The child who was driving the car on the football field is "arrested" and spends the day in jail. His parents are notified.
The children go on an overnight retreat where they pledge not to drink and drive. They write a letter to their parents, saying goodbye from beyond the grave. Meanwhile the parents meet with "members of our faith community" to draft obituaries for their students.
The next morning there is an all-school assembly where the parents read the obits and then are reunited with their child. The volunteers share their experiences from the overnight retreat.
Too dramatic. We already have cutters at the school. I'm waiting for the Tom Sawyer, I'm attending my own funeral and now I know how much everyone will miss me when I'm gone, part of this to kick in for a suicidal teen. It seems to glamorize death and gore.
A waste of educational time. Not much more I can add to this
A mis-direction of focus. The families who participate have already signed on as volunteers. These kids are the Student Body Presidents, the Cheerleaders, the Club Presidents. I don't think the disaffected kids who are spending the majority of their time hating school, hating life, are going to give two hoots about how emotionally heart-rending the experience was for a cheerleader. I know I wouldn't have cared when I was in school.
A mis-direction of resources. Fire Dept, Police, Faith community, City Staff, School Staff, Local Hospitals, the Heli-vac company all adore this program. A video is produced every year detailing the crash and the "impact" the program has had on the school. I'd much rather get those guys to help us get a real drug counseling program in the school, led by recovering addicts, which allows the kids to explore *why* they are self-medicating. But it's not flashy, sitting around in a room, is it.
Insertion of school into family dynamics. Sometimes this is appropriate--especially with High School-aged, almost adult students. HOWEVER. The overnight retreat deeply bothers me. Student's cell phones are confiscated, since they are dead and unable to communicate with the outside world. They are chaperoned and not allowed to use hotel phones. Then they are encouraged to talk about death and about drug use. Every year one of the parent volunteers talks about how resistant the students were to the process, but after "hours of discussion" the students suddenly became much more emotional and open. At this point they write their letters from beyond the grave to the parents. I've been in "Group-Think" situations like this before. Makes my skin crawl. If I question this, the response I get is, "The kids volunteered to take part."
The whole thing makes me nuts. And I squirm every year I hear a report about it. I should stand up and fight against it, demonstrate how harmful it is. But I'm definitely not representative of the community on this one. People lap it up.
Link: Every 15 Mintues program
Edited to add: There's very little evidence that _any_ of the popular programs work to stop drug use. This is the best study relative to "Project DARE." But hard evidence does not sway either the police or the school administration to stop a program. Believe me on this. It takes a full-scale community uprising to drag these programs out once they're installed.