October 29, 2008

Red Ribbon Week at School. Wha?

There are times that I wish I could wave a magic wand to make my children completely unaware of what they're being taught in school. Ah, the days of homeschooling when things made sense.

This week is Red Ribbon Week at school. It's about staying clear of drugs and it's being taught to 1st graders. You know, the ones who'd ask, "What are drugs Mommy?" It's kind of like teaching them safe sex. "What is sex Mommy?" Or safe driving tips. "What is driving under the influence Mommy?" These things are totally irrelevant to 1st graders, why are we introducing drugs to them before they even know there are things besides spinning around in circles and hanging upside down to alter their minds?

Please don't tell me that some children are already exposed to drugs at this age. Please??? I know, I understand that 2% of all first graders have smoked a doobie. Whatever. I also know that I live in an area where we don't see drug deals on the corner (even though there are.) I'm not denying that some children are exposed to drugs at an early age, I'm just saying must we expose all the rest of them too in the name of warning those 2 kids who see their parents light up at breakfast? Or who have older siblings who do drugs?

My kid doesn't know what drugs are! He's six. Here's the week he's experiencing in school:

Monday: We will wear our clothes backwards - "Turn Your Back on Drugs"

Tuesday: We will wear our sneakers - "Don't Let Drugs Sneak Up on You"

Wednesday: We will wear red clothes - "Wear Red Day"

Thursday: We will wear our favorite team's jersey - "Team Up Against Drugs"

Friday: We will receive a red apple - "Take a Bite Out of the Drug Problem"

Tuesday I picked up Sean and his friend Brenna at school.

He observed, "Oh, you wore your sneakers today."

Brenna said, "Yeah."

I asked, fishing to see what they understood, "Why did you have to wear sneakers today?"

Sean said, "Don't let drugs sneak up on you."

I asked, "Do you know what that means?"

They both answered No.

Brenna offered, "A policeman and a dog came to my sister's school and looked for drugs in the lockers."

Sean reasoned, "Oh! That's what it means - don't let drugs sneak up on you, like if you opened your locker and drugs popped out at you."

Brenna joined in enthusiastically, "Yeah!"

I sighed. Where do I even start? Parents were encouraged to "talk to them about staying drug free" in the letter home, but maybe I can just leave it at - don't let drugs pop out of your locker when you go to middle school?

Today is wear red day. Sean asked this morning as he was putting on his red shirt, "Why do we have to wear red today - oh, I know! Drugs are red, right?"

Thanks for putting the idea of doing drugs, running from drugs, taking a bite out of drugs, whatever, into my 6 year old's brain, "Elementary School Counselors." Was it your idea to tell my fifth grader he could get high with Robotussion too? Genius. Sometimes I think "educators" have absolutely no idea who they're "educating" or what they're really teaching. Truth? I can't talk, I know I taught my kids plenty of things I shouldn't have - intentionally and unintentionally - but these people keep reminding us they're professionals and all. Sometimes I think if it simply sounds cute and good, then schools incorporate it into their curriculum without researching the idea or considering the actual children. These types of programs have been shown over and over again to increase the very behavior they're supposed to decrease. So I keep wondering if anyone ever chooses to implement things that work, even though they might not sound as cute, fun and appealing as wearing favorite team jerseys backwards while eating red apples and running away from drugs in your sneakers.

So, any ideas of how I can now introduce the issue of taking drugs to my son who only recently began taking children's vitamins? And how about safe sex and safe driving and safe ways to clip heavy nose hair and how to marry for life and how to score big with the chicks and on your SATs too. And can we do it all in a Dick and Jane reader?


rosemary said...

Oh, Jennie.....~sigh~....I'm so glad i am just a Gigi at the moment....I don't think I could deal with that stuff. While I can understand early learning....there is the issue of suggestion as well. aboom today for the WV.

Mom said...

Innocence is so precious. It is sad to have it threatened so young.
I would pretty much ignore this stuff unless he asks a question. Answer whatever questions he has, but don't push it. He is watching you and he is learning your values.

Paul Nichols said...

First, you print this. Second, you hand-deliver it to all your school administrators.

When I was in school, we didn't have these kinds of weeks. All we ever got to do was learn how to clean our rifles...