Zero tolerance for chaperones

Teen-agers who sneak a drink on a school trip get into big trouble. So did parent chaperones who ordered a beer or glass of wine with dinner while escorting sixth graders in Washington, D.C., reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via Zero Intelligence.

About Joanne


  1. Last week we had teachers from New Jersey who had a drink with dinner while chaperoning a class trip to DC, now it’s parents from Pennsylvania. What is it about DC that makes people want a drink so badly?

  2. Ross (The Heartless Conservative) says:

    I can see no way in heck that adults who are not driving having one glass of an adult beverage amounts to a problem. Could someone who believes the parents were wrong to have one drink with their meal at a restaurant please explain that position to me?

    Thanks in advance,

  3. A single drink of alcohol inevitably leads to being drunk in the gutter, having a failed marriage, liver failure, and eventual death from exposure on Christmas Eve or the day of a child’s wedding or some other occasion that can highlight the tragic circumstances of alcoholism. Everyone knows that.

    Oops, Ross asked for an explanation from someone who actually believes that crap. Sorry. Ignore that. Nothing to see here. Move along. And drink responsibly.

  4. Tim from Texas says:

    The policy and beliefs throughout this country in respect to the consumption of alchohol beverages is unbelievable. This is especially true in the manner we approach it with our youth. We could I suppose make alcoholic beverages illegal, but we all know what transpired during the years of the so called Prohibition. It simply did not work, and made the situation worse and created other situations as well with which we are still having to contend.

    The majority of adults drink alcoholic beverages and it has been a reality since, well, since a very long time. I don’t see it going away. We don’t want it to go away. Even those who speak vehemently against its consumption and the problems that are caused by it, are known now and then to partake in a nip or two or three.

    As for our youth it would seem then wise and prudent in this regard to begin socializing them to the human “habit” and all that goes with it. The fact that we haven’t done so is proven by the unsatiated cravings and “itch” so many of them possess even at an early age. When this teaching-socializing should begin is up, of course, for argument. However, to wait until they are 18 is way too late. We see evidence of waiting too long everywhere. It can be argued that the youth are never really taught or socialized in any form in this country. Not doing it, or waiting too long to begin it, is like spitting into the wind. But alas!! We continue the nonsense.

  5. Although I’m usually opposed to zero-tolerance rules,
    this is NOT one of those cases. Chaperones should NEVER
    drink alcohol, even one drink, when they have OTHER people’s children under their watch. No exceptions.
    These chaperones are there to do a job… their own enjoyment of the trip is secondary…

    Should teachers carry around breathalyzer tests to test chaperones? Think about the liability issues… or worse, what if some chaperone has two drinks, and his/her judgement is a little impaired, and there is an emergency with one of the kids? Seriously, two glasses of wine can impair your judgement… obviously different people have different levels of tolerance for alcohol, but when you are supposed to be watching OTHER people’s children, why even put yourself in that situation…

  6. Ken Two says:

    Thank goodness they didn’t light a cigarette or other tobacco product.

  7. whatish says:

    American students are well-known to be the worst binge drinkers in Canadian schools (especially in those provinces where the drinking age is 18).

  8. Ross (The Heartless Conservative) says:

    Thanks for the explanation of your thought process.

  9. Mad Scientist says:

    jab, thanks for that well thought-out and rational defense of stupidity.

    If anyone ever gave me grief for having an adult beverage while I was a volunteer chaperone, I would tell them to count me out next time. Hell, I might just walk out right there and then. If enough of the chaperones responded with that message, pretty soon there would not be enough volunteers to help out with that thankless job.

  10. The students are taught in elementary school, starting in Kindergarten, that drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes is drug abuse.

    When we went to visit my mom, she had a beer, and my kids were horrified that Grandma was doing drugs.

    It had never came up before, as we don’t drink. I had to explain that beer and other alcoholic beverages are legal, and explain about drinking sensibly.

    The parents were chaperones, which is voluntary. I have to disagree with them drinking when they are in charge of children.

  11. Mad Scientist says:


    Were they told in advance that they should not drink? Besides, what is the big deal?

    It’s not like they were smoking crack or shooting heroin.

  12. Parents should be required to take a drink after a day with that many kids. Ease the pain. Maybe they should outlaw the field trips. Tell the parents to take their own kids to all the site. They do it anyway already.

  13. Mad…
    Give me a break.
    I have no problem with adults drinking…
    I drink frequently myself… but NOT when I’m in charge of caring for OTHER people’s children.What is so hard to understand about this… this is a SCHOOL function… by your logic, why shouldn’t the teachers be able to drink alcohol as well…
    Chaperones are NOT there for their own enjoyment… if you can’t act like an adult and control your petty desires (waahhh, waaah, but I want a beer noooooooowwwww, waaahh) when you have a job to do, then don’t volunteer…

  14. Next thing, it’ll be cookies:

    We never eat cookies because they have yeast,
    And one little bite makes a man like a beast.
    Oh, can you imagine a sadder disgrace
    Than a man in the gutter with crumbs on his face?!

    Away, away
    With rum, by gum!
    With rum, by gum!
    With rum, by gum!
    Away, away
    With rum, by gum!
    The song of the Salvation Army!

  15. Anonymous (but some of you know me) says:

    Great timing Joanne:

    I just got back on Tuesday from a 12-day trip to Greece and the Greek Islands with six former students. This was my first time ever. A few notes.

    1. My school district does not officially endorse these trips. Until this year they have been like the military and homosexuals (“don’t ask; don’t tell” ie. Don’t use our copy machines and don’t take up class time)and each letter I sent home had in bold letters about me acting as a private citizen and that this trip had nothing to do with my official position with the district.

    2. I was going with a company,EF Tours, who actually spell out their alcohol policy in the contract the parents sign. Bascially they state that “cultural consumption of wine or beer” is permitted, AT THE TOUR LEADER’S DISCRETION, but their will be no drinking of liquor and drunkeness is a one way ticket home at Mom and Dad’s expense. (Note: Before the trip I stressed to the parents that I considered “hangovers” to be part and partial of drunkeness because they could affect the enjoyment of the whole group the day after)

    3. My group consisted of six recent graduates, which I was thannkful for. All of them were out of school and were on their way to college, adults in my eyes and that of their parents. In fact I had a very immature sophomore signed up who decided to open his mouth about the trip at school, against my policy of not talking about the trip, and also talked about getting to drink in Europe which was overheard by another teacher who told me about it.

    I called his parents and canceled him with two weeks to go! My career is not worth it. Mom and Dad had paid over $2,300, but their son could not keep his mouth shut. Believe it or not, they were fairly understanding.

    Actually, in the long run, I was glad that he did not go. He is kind of a freak and his age and immaturity really messed up the group dynamics. He would probably have been a problem.

    4. With the ages of these students all of the parents were okay with their kids enjoying supervised drinking. My basic rule was; no drinking out of my presence. Later I adapted that to, no drinking without my permission, and they were fine with that.

    We would meet for a drink every evening to discuss our adventures and likewise we had Greek wine with dinner on the cruise ship.

    Most of my touring group were adults and I received nothing but praise from those people about the behavior and comportment of my kids.

    5. One warning though. A few years back a friend of mine and two other teachers lost their jobs, IN A UNION STATE NO LESS, over students drinking on an overseas trip. I found out that what sunk them were photos of the event. In the age of camera phones and the internet, you have to be careful.

    Before we left I told them this story and stressed that their would be no photos of any of us with wine bottles anywhere near the picture. They agreed and kept this rule the entire trip. In fact we spent one evening in a Greek taverna, watching the dancing and another member of our group wanted to take a picture of my girls. My oldest girl was thoughtful enough to move the wine bottle (not ours even) out of the shot.

    Overall I really enjoyed my trip. If I do this again, I think I will only recruit graduating seniors again. I could not even imagine the headaches (and I don’t mean just drinking issues)of taking younger kids.

  16. Mad Scientist says:


    So by your logic, if the parents were smokers, they should not smoke in front of the little darlings. Give me a break!

    It’s attitudes like yours that reinforce the screwed up attitudes about alcohol and tobacco in this country. If the parents were not told of this “rule” beforehand, then you have no complaint.

    Try, just once, to assume that responsible adults will behave, well, responsibly. I guess that is not possible, since you exhibit all of the symptoms of the typical liberal nanny-state mentality.

  17. Mad Scientist says:

    Oh, yeah. I personally do not drink.

    Well, maybe one beer a year, just to remind myself how much I really do not like it.

    And Anonymous (see above) has got it exactly right.

  18. Steve LaBonne says:

    America- the only society in the world that can manage to be libertine and Puritan at the same time. {roll eyes]

  19. Ross (The Heartless Conservative) says:

    I thought you did a good job of providing antedotal evidence of why chaperones should be allowed one drink. I was surprised when your conclusion went the other way.

  20. Hummm, it’s hard to get too excited about this after reading the article. What the heck is this unwritten policy thing? If it ain’t written it ain’t policy.

    The kids were playing downstairs and a couple of the adults had wine with the meal upstairs. Hard to see this as a felony. But as we well know the hard right wingers are truly psychotic about schools anyway, feeling that our goals are to turn kids into libertine communists, so why give them ammunition? Probably best to pass on the alcohol that day.

  21. Hard right wingers? Are you kidding? Most of these zero-tolerence idiocies come from those who demand we tolerate every mental misfiring that oozes from their dieseased brains–the left.

    And it is the left that is doing it’s damnedest to bring smoking and drinking under the umberella of drug use.

  22. JimInNOVA says:

    Ross – not to nitpick, but is “antedotal” evidence the type of evidence that cures one of a misconception? =)

  23. Jack, Hey us left wingers go nuts evertime some brain dead principal sends home a kindergartner who brought a plastic knife to school to spread him peanut butter. We hate this stuff and always blame it on you right winger control freaks.

    So this brings forward the question: If it ain’t us and it ain’t you, who the heck is it?

  24. I was trying to explain that it can’t be both ways, schools teach that drinking and smoking is doing drugs. The parents were chaperones at a school field trip. Schools and school functions are supposed to be considered drug free zones. So of course, I agree that they shouldn’t have had one drink.

    In the real world, it’s a different story, such as I explained to my children.

  25. Anonymous brings back fond memories of my senior class trip to Quebec, when we got loaded on the bus, in our hotel rooms, and at restaurants, with the teachers. I doubt they could have stood our company if they weren’t a little lit. The best was one lunch when my roommates were back at our room, hung over, and I was the fly on the wall with a group of teacher/chaperones. It was fun to learn what they really thought of my classmates.

  26. Jim, “antidotal” evidence refutes a misconception. “Antedotal” evidence precedes a misconception.

  27. Richard Brandshaft says:

    My doctor PRESCRIBED a glass of red wine a day for me. Political extremists, on both ends, get themselves tangled in yes/no questions. The concept of pathological vs. therapeutic dosages seems beyond them.