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Selling alcohol at primary school events - is this wrong?

(44 Posts)
tigermoth Sun 18-Jul-04 08:55:07

I was discussing this with a friend recently. Do you think it sends out the wrong message? Should alcohol be so acceptable? I don't think family drinking is wrong, but is primary school the right place for it?

There's a bar run by PTA members at all our school's evening events, except formal meetings. Many parents, like me, drive to the events, so having a bar is putting temptation in our way. In addition, our bar sells things like 'reef'a and 'bacardi breezers' so not quite alcopops but nearly. At the school Leavers Evening, lots of Year 6s were coming up to the bar alone and asking for beer and wine, allegedly for their parents....

Freckle Sun 18-Jul-04 09:03:48

There could be arguments for and against. Drinking is a part of life and to exclude it from school events (for parents) might send the message that it is something hidden and clandestine. On the other hand, having it there might make children think that drinking is something which adults always do (which might be true in some cases but is not necessarily a message you want children to receive).

I hope none of the Y6 children were able to buy alcohol "on behalf of their parents". Also, I assume a licence has been procured for each event? Perhaps it would be better to lobby magistrates who grant these licences if it is felt that schools are not the right venues for a bar.

tigermoth Sun 18-Jul-04 09:07:11

My friend was helping at the PTA bar for the Leavers Evening and said they of course refused to sell alcohol to the children.

I don't know if a licence was procured or not. But even if not bar or licence, should parents be allowed to 'bring their own'?

SoupDragon Sun 18-Jul-04 09:14:07

I don't have a problem with it although I don't like the idea of Y6 pupils having been sent to (or pretending to!) get alcohol for their parents.

DS1s school had a bar at their summer fair (with a license) and the PTA quiz night was BYOwn. Neither of these made me think twice TBH.

Twiglett Sun 18-Jul-04 09:26:54

message withdrawn

hercules Sun 18-Jul-04 09:33:37

Never thought twice about it. As long as the parents arent getting drunk or acting silly.

Some teachers I know pretend to the pupils they dont smoke or drink alcohol but I've always thougt of alcohol in moderation as part of life and it is only when it is abused it becomes a problem. Surely kids seeing good examples of how alcohol should be consumed ie in moderation is better than making it something secret and then more desirable and exciting.

iota Sun 18-Jul-04 09:36:42

we had a bar at ds1 (age 5) school fete recently. I must admit I didn't think twice about it apart from the fact that it was a good fund raiser.

Mind you, I don't think any of the school children (4 to 8 yr olds) would have been sent up to the bar to get alcohol, so no problems from that point of view.

Beetroot Sun 18-Jul-04 09:44:23

Message withdrawn

SoupDragon Sun 18-Jul-04 09:44:26

Part of it depends how the adults are using it. Are they necking it back and getting completely ratted or are they drinking sensibly and responsibly? I would say that it's pretty much always the latter which IMO gives out the right message about alcohol.

twogorgeousboys Sun 18-Jul-04 11:20:11

I'm anti the "alcohol for the parents" thing at school events etc and feel it should be policy, not to have it served. Have been at a fair number of PTA events (as one of the teachers helping out) and been dismayed at some (not the majority) of the parents attitude. These parents have sat drinking while their children run riot unsupervised. They seemed to think that it was the teachers responsibility to supervise their children at these events, when it most definitely is not.

We stopped alcohol being served, or being brought to PTA events at my last school.

I do think it sends out the wrong message, because the school is saying its ok to drink alcohol whilst supervising your children.

hercules Sun 18-Jul-04 11:24:37

But it is okay to drink alcohol whilst supervising children! What difference would a parent having a glass of wine make to them supervising or not supervising their children? Sounds as if they werent bothered they'd still not be bothered if you only gave them water.

hercules Sun 18-Jul-04 11:26:05

Tbh I'd much rather my son when a teenager got drunk occassionaly rather than took drugs which nowadays is very likely. Drugs scare me not the alcohol.

hercules Sun 18-Jul-04 11:27:15

Last point. Surely these parents are adults and it's not the schools role to lead by example and ban alcool.

Tinker Sun 18-Jul-04 11:29:32

You beat me to it there hecules, was about to say the same thing. Really don't have a problem with alchol being sold at school fairs, discos etc. Good way of raising money and makes them a bit more bearable for some.

hercules Sun 18-Jul-04 11:33:05

On mufti day at my dss school the parents have to bring in a bottle of alcohol rather than money. They get used for the very popular drinks tombolas!
btw school is very successful rc.

jampot Sun 18-Jul-04 11:36:25

I ran our school's PTA for 3 years and we had a licenced bar at fund raising events which took place in the evening (ie. not the summer and xmas fayres). We sold wine and beer (no spirits). IMO children whose parents consume alcohol probably already know and are used to seeing their parents with a glass of wine or bottle of beer etc. The bar was at the events in case people wished to puchase alcohol or soft drinks as many used to bring their own. Obviously if anyone was uncomfortable with drinking in front of the children then they could just have a soft drink. I personally can't see a problem with it.

Jimjams Sun 18-Jul-04 12:51:39

can you imagine the french having this discussion? Of course its fine. Getting stemaing pissed at a kids event is over the top but nothing wrong with the odd glass of wine. My parents used to give me wine the french way (tiny bit topped up with lots of water) from a very early age. Surely sensible access to/observation of alcohol is a good thing.

twogorgeousboys Sun 18-Jul-04 14:10:41

Sorry, have a seemingly very tough view on drinking whilst supervising children, which perhaps I should have qualified. Its to do with drinking alcohol, whilst trying to supervise children, when surrounded by fairly large groups of people, which makes supervision more difficult.

A few years ago, a close friend was at a fairly large family barbeque (20 or so people). Everyone was having a lovely time, most people having a drink, not to excess, but enough to know they'd had a drink IYSWIM.

Her 6 year old nephew somehow got out of the garden (which was secure - gate appeared to have been left open by someone) and was killed in the road. A terrible accident, and no-ones fault. My friend said no-one was drunk, but enough had been consumed to make people less on the ball in a crowd situation like that.

With regard to our school and the "forget alcohol" thing at events, it was parents who asked the Head to have just soft drinks in future. Their argument being it was good for children to see everyone having a fab time at a social event in an alcohol free environment.

Didn't mean to come across as anally retentive about alcohol, I like a glass or two of wine, and often do out in the garden of an evening watching (and supervising!)my two playing.

Freckle Sun 18-Jul-04 14:21:43

Tragic though that incident was, I suspect it was not so much the fact that people had had a glass or two of wine as the fact that there were a lot of people talking and socialising. I often find that, if you are alone with your children, you are super-observant of what they are up to. When both parents are around, the supervision is lessened because you both assume that the other is being vigilant. This is the same when there are lots of people around.

I agree that it is important for children to see people enjoying themselves without alcohol, but I suspect they get to see this anyway. It is equally important for them to see that drinking in moderation is OK too.

Jimjams Sun 18-Jul-04 14:40:23

Tend to agree with freckle. The one time I have lost ds1 was when we were at a large christening party. People were drinking, but I wasn't as a) I was driving and b) I was pregnant. I was chatting though and I thought dh was watching him; he thought I was. We suddenly realised he was lost. The party was in a very large house with very large grounds, next to a busy road with a kind of large pond/lake in the grounds. Luckily the children's entertainer saw him and set off after him. She appeared from behind the stable block- a little speck in the distance. Makes me shiver to think about it now- he was very close to the road there.

But no alcohol involved (not even one glass I never drink anything whilst driving) just a momentary lapse.

carla Sun 18-Jul-04 15:38:08

Jimjams, dh (who used to be bursar at local school) told me everyone who sold alcohol had to have a licence, but that for things like sports day/Christmas parties most would turn a blind eye to it. I'm certain that our school didn't apply for one. Our yr1 had a teddy bear's picnic last week, and I took along a jug of Pimm's for the mums. They all seemed really appreciative ... and someone even commented on how 'civilised' it made it! It's not like we're all out on some pre-children bender, is it? /

lydialemon Sun 18-Jul-04 16:13:18

We have alcohol at evening dos, say at our 'dinner/dance' we hold each year, but I'd feel very dubious if they extended that to day time events such as the summer fete. This thread has made me feel like I must be a bit prudish about alcohol (getting old )

Prekids I was in the pub or bar once or twice a week, but now I very rarely drink at all and I can't actually remember the last time I was drunk. Now, this is my personal opinion and no criticism of anyone else, BUT if having however many drinks means I'm judged incapable of driving safely how can I then feel comfortable having my kids dependent on me in the same situation? This isn't to say that I never drink, I would just never do it if DH was as well. I need someone to be totaly in control just in case one of the kids got sick, had a nightmare or one of the many other things kids like to wake up with!

Just to make it worse....I really dislike day time drinking anyway, always have done.

carla Sun 18-Jul-04 16:18:16

lydialemon... ... glad you weren't there then

lydialemon Sun 18-Jul-04 16:27:02

I luuurvve being boring

carla Sun 18-Jul-04 16:37:10


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