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Parent drinking alcohol before assisting with school trip

(87 Posts)
Baydreams Mon 11-Mar-19 16:21:08

I would describe the parent of one of DCs classmates as a functioning alcoholic.

I frequently see them post-morning school run sinking 4 tins. Despite this, they never seem particularly inebriated to me.

This morning I saw this parent doing their usual 9.30am routine, and then this afternoon I saw the same parent returning from assisting the class school trip (primary school).

So, my questions are:

1. What would you do?

2. This question is for anyone who works in schools or has knowledge in this area - what action might the school take? Short of breathilising them, it’s a he said / she said situation, so I’m interested to know what the standard course of action would be if I had a conversation with the school.

And 3. Do I need to check my double standards? Eg, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid at PTA mums drinking a a handful of glasses of mulled wine at the Christmas fair whilst still running the show. There are other helpers and teachers around so should it be up to them to judge if someone isn’t
up to the job of assisting with the class?

I feel like it’s important that I do mention it to the school (although I’m pretty certain this isn’t the first time a parent has made the school aware), but think I just needed to mull over my thoughts first and ask what others would do.

AJPTaylor Mon 11-Mar-19 19:30:40

My dd had a friend with an alcoholic dad. He would walk around drinking a 4 pack of special brew. Literally drank himself to death.
I would tell the school.

LaBelleSauvage Mon 11-Mar-19 19:23:12

I'm a massive snob so it's mainly the 'tins' and the time of day that bothers me.

I'd be the same as OP re some mulled wine at a fair.

Perhaps worth a mention to the organiser. I wouldn't want my children near a tin. I hope a glass was used at the very least grin

Baydreams Mon 11-Mar-19 18:48:21

@Aragog Thanks for the advice, I'll find out who the safeguarding contact is at the school

TapasForTwo Mon 11-Mar-19 18:41:09

It takes a village ......

PinkSmitterton Mon 11-Mar-19 18:37:52

With any safeguarding issue the default is always to report it

"If you suspect there's a problem, don't think 'what if I'm wrong?' think 'what if I'm right?'"

The school will then decide whether they need to act on it: based on the welfare of the child of that parent and in this case the welfare of other children on the trip.

Aragog Mon 11-Mar-19 18:26:56

I am surprised how many people seem to not thing its an issue for an inebriated parent to be in school/on school trip and potential supervising a group of children!

This is a HUGE safeguarding issue which schools should be taking very seriously.
It's not a case of not being someone else's business. It most definitely should be when that parent is in school and working alongside children. It is the whole school's business if that is happening.
No way would I want a parent, or any adult, working alongside my child at school when that adult had had a drink.

Can you imagine if it was a teacher back in class after a lunch time pint or glass of wine? There'd be uproar! It's no different - this parent is still working alongside children in their school!

excitedtobehere Mon 11-Mar-19 18:22:47

*As long as they are not driving, it's not really anyone else's business.
I'm sure plenty of high flyers go and collect their kids high on drugs and fine wine.*
hmm Really?? Well that makes all the difference so.

There are children involved. You reckon it's No one else's business if a parent is under the influence while having children in their care.

kbPOW Mon 11-Mar-19 18:19:17

^ what @Aragog said. Nothing to do with ratios. You cannot be under the influence of alcohol and be on a school trip.

Aragog Mon 11-Mar-19 18:14:36

It depends if the adult was part of the ratio and had responsibility or not.

Not really. Our safeguarding policies would not allow an inebriated adult any where near a school trip, regardless of whether they were part of ratios or not. They'd simply be told no.

AutumnCrow Mon 11-Mar-19 18:14:33

OP, thanks for explaining further. It's what I'd expect the school to ask you tbh, as you're potentially going to be asking the school to exclude this parent from school activities. You have to be sure.

Aragog Mon 11-Mar-19 18:12:47

Definitely tell school. I would ask to speak to one of the safeguarding team - the head and/or deputy will most likely be part of that team, or a learning mentor perhaps. Tell them facts, without any prejudice, assumptions of judgemental comments - it will be better for school if it is just straight facts such as dates, times, place, etc.

School will keep such information on file. It helps build a picture.

We have had functioning (and non functioning) alcoholics as school parents. They have never been allowed on school trips, and are supervised/watched on visits into school generally. When they have looked inebriated or smell of alcohol/drugs we have not allowed the child home with them, esp where we believe they may be driving. We have procedures in place as to how to handle this.

If school are aware Im surprised they allowed them on the trip, so definitely worth passing on known information.

greenlynx Mon 11-Mar-19 18:12:37

I’m surprised that some PPs still couldn’t believe OP. When you live in the area and use the same route/ go to the same shop every day you notice people doing the same things around you.

WendyCope Mon 11-Mar-19 18:02:33

OP can you anonmously report your concerns to school?

WendyCope Mon 11-Mar-19 18:00:01

I also don't drive so can have a drink with lunch, to be clear!

Baydreams Mon 11-Mar-19 17:59:02

@autumncrow Honestly, it's not unusual at all to bump into other local parents outside the local parade of shops near the school, or to be doing errands on the high street so be in a position to tell how long they have been sat there and how much they can drink in that time. We live very close by to each other, and of course when I walk by I stop to say hello as we are friendly with each other and have children in the same class.

Not meaning to drip feed, I didn't realise I would need to give so many specific details. Perhaps if I'd initially painted the picture that it's a deprived area where drinking /using drugs in public isn't a rare occurance, there'd be less doubt? I didn't think it was necessary to the situation to explain those details.

WendyCope Mon 11-Mar-19 17:58:30

I was going to sat that Tensixty I often go and pick up DD at 5pm probably smelling of my glass of wine with lunch. I'm fine though.

Four cans of beer at 9am is a bit much though. But if they do not seem drunk and DC are well cared for?

Lunch is BIG where I live, dinner is small and I'm in bed by 10pm grin

I'd say each to their own, except drinking 'on the street' seems odd to me.

Tensixtysix Mon 11-Mar-19 17:53:27

As long as they are not driving, it's not really anyone else's business.
I'm sure plenty of high flyers go and collect their kids high on drugs and fine wine.
'For the grace of God go I'

10IAR Mon 11-Mar-19 17:51:30

Baydreams that's a relief, that the child seems ok.

10IAR Mon 11-Mar-19 17:50:44

Or be walking/driving down the same road at the same time?

But then where I used to live parents smoking joints in their pyjamas was the norm at 9am. So maybe we just had different experiences that school was a big part of why we moved

Baydreams Mon 11-Mar-19 17:50:05

@x2boys I don't know the ins and outs of why they do what they do and not at home, but my guess is it's one of these situations:

1. Hiding it from their other half
2. Can't wait till they get home
3. Is part of their social routine / is lonely / likes to sit and chat to passers by.

@10IAR Don't want to go into too many extra details separate from this scenario, but the child is well cared for. Has another, seemingly sensible and sober, parent at home.

hazell42 Mon 11-Mar-19 17:49:33

I'm not sure what you are going to report him for. Drinking at that time, assuming he was, isn't great for him from a health POV, but you said yourself he didnt appear inebriated and you wouldn't necessarily worry about other parents drinking at a school fete during the day.
Bottom line, he was sober enough to get up and take his kids to school and interested enough to volunteer on a school trip.
I'm sure if there was an issue staff would have spotted it.
He may be hurting himself but I'm not sure what it is you feel you need to butt in for

AutumnCrow Mon 11-Mar-19 17:49:13

the story seems odd to me, just saying ...

Parents do school run. Children go into school.

Parents disperse from school.

Parent A leaves school and buys cans in shop and apparently opens and drinks them in street.

Parent B ... Well, they'd have left, wouldn't they? To either go to work, or home, or go about their business. Why would they be in the street at the exact place where they'd be able to be looking into Parent A's bag of open cans of beer?

That's all I'm saying.

And as I said originally, they must be pretty close in that case.

IncrediblySadToo Mon 11-Mar-19 17:45:49

Functioning alcoholic, who isn’t driving, helping on a school trip for a couple of hours. I don’t think you need to ‘do’ anything.

I don’t drink my h these days and I wouldn’t drink before helping in a school trip, however, I could drink 4 cans of beer and be perfectly able to look after the children well. A functioning alcoholic even more so as they’re used to it.

I’m sure the school won’t allow the parent to help if they think there’s a problem with the parents help

x2boys Mon 11-Mar-19 17:44:12


x2boys Mon 11-Mar-19 17:43:09

Because it's an odd thing to do Tapas I worked in mental health for years and worked with addicts ,I also live in a deprived area and regularly see people buying cheap cider and lager anytime during the day , but to drink four cans after school drop off before going home ,seems odd a lot of people would try to hide their drinking so either they don't care or they or so depends they cant?

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