Because people in Arlington aren't pathetic enough...

Friday, January 18, 2008 3:48 PM
It doesn't say that directly, but it doesn't recognize the fact other parks handle the exact situation pretty much flawlessly. Theres so much more to worry about in parks that should come before worrying about something like this. Where was a class of 3rd graders writing about the health hazards of Six Flag employees getting a literal running start at my restraints shoving a thinly coated metal bar into my stomach? I would much rather see kids writing letters about real problems at parks.

*** Edited 1/18/2008 8:51:44 PM UTC by P18***

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Friday, January 18, 2008 3:50 PM

I've told you guys before - Carrie is a smart one.

Thanks Gonch. Considering the source, I consider your words quite a compliment.

There is a reason why young kids are being taught about the dangers of alcohol. They need to be introduced to the dangers of alcohol because they are introduced to the opportunity to drink at younger and younger ages. This is just one source that speaks to that.

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/AA67/AA67.htm

Asking 8-9 years old to understand the gray areas of responsible drinking is unreasonble. Kids that age are still learning in specific dualistic ways. Things are either right or wrong, on or off, black or white.

I really don't see why we think the kids were manipulated here. I believe there was manipulation with this article, but it had nothing to do with 3rd graders and their lesson in civic responsiblity or their opinions about alcohol.

This journalist had any number of angles to play on this article and still tell the same story. Why wasn't the headline "Third grade class gets first lesson in finding their voices"?

No, she chose to go with "Alcohol sales gross out 3rd-graders." So right off the bat the reader is led to believe the point is the 3rd-grade class opinion. Ask yourselves, why did this journalist want the public to believe the kids of this class are worried about beer sales at the amusement park?

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Friday, January 18, 2008 3:53 PM
Can I edit the above post so it looks like I posted it? :)
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Friday, January 18, 2008 4:25 PM
Teaching the kids about the dangers of alcohol is not the same as getting them to campaign for your political cause.
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Friday, January 18, 2008 4:40 PM
^Where does it say that the teacher is against Six Flags selling alcohol? I very much doubt that the teacher contacted the local paper and said "Hey my third graders are writing letters to oppose Six Flags selling alcohol. Send a reporter."

Schools have PR staff that contact papers with things going on in the school. At my school in particular we are encouraged to tell the PR rep if we are doing anything exciting or extraordinary in our classroom. From there they contact the newspapers and they send someone if they find it interesting.

I think too many people are assuming that the teacher has some kind of axe to grind. It could be that she wanted to give students an opportunity to voice their opinions about an issue they find important. How dare she!

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Friday, January 18, 2008 5:09 PM
When was the last time twenty something people agreed on anything? I work with 3rd graders in a church environment (after school program) in Fort Worth. They can't even agree on what game to play when we go outside. And you're telling me they universally agreed on a position on SFoT selling alcohol all by themselves without any outside help?

And I also think we're underestimating the 3rd graders when we say "they have to be taught things in black and white" etc. I might concede the point developmentally (though I've seen 3rd graders in my work who could definitely find gray areas in many issues), but if you don't teach them or try to teach them about gray areas now, how will they reconcile the two views of the world later.

Mom to 3rd grade Johnny: "Alcohol is bad."

3rd grade Johnny: "Okay mom."

5 years later:

8th grade Johnny: "Hey, my friends drink and don't have trouble. My mom must've been full of it. I'm going to get wasted!"

Anyone wonder why the teenage pregnancy rate is so high around here? Lack of proper sex ed. *in elementary school.* Kids are making those decisions in early middle school now and have to be exposed to the gray area early or they'll find out the hard way. *** Edited 1/18/2008 10:24:45 PM UTC by ApolloAndy***

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Friday, January 18, 2008 5:24 PM

Carrie M. said:
So if the 3rd graders wrote 20 variations of the following letter... Dear Six Flags, I think it is awesome that you are thinking about selling beer at your park. My Mom and Dad drink beer and if you sell it then they might bring me to the park more often. Thanks! Love, Susie... would we be having this same discussion?

"When you're mad about something, do you just gripe to your friends?" Ratliff asked the students Friday morning. "No. You inform yourself, and you make your voice heard."quote]

Actually, at the age of 8 or 9, I probably would have been the kid writing that awesome letter. The park I grew up with allowed people to bring in alcohol for picnics. I was around it all my life, so it's no big deal to me-- and I never felt the need to binge drink when I was a teen. I'd say my family's attitude was more like, don't penalize us because someone else can't handle it.

Yes kids, remember that "make your voice heard" crap. Because when you're in high school and you get mad about something and try making your voice heard before the prinicipal or school board, they'll step on you like a bunch of overripe grapes. And they won't want you talking to the local media either. :)


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Friday, January 18, 2008 8:19 PM
Pretty rediculous and sad.
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Friday, January 18, 2008 11:20 PM
I have also had my third, fifth and sixth grade students undertake actual corporate letter-writing in order to teach the subject. The kids are allowed to do any combination of the following:

1) Complain about a product or service

2) Provide a compliment

3) Make a suggestion

4) Ask a question

We then make a book showing the student letters with the corporate response...sort of like the book Letters to a Nut.

No child is allowed to write to the same company as another child. This way the letters are genuine and personal. (I also explained the differences between a local store and a corporate headquarters...the children have to research the person they need to write to, thier title and the corporate address - which is part of the learning experience.)

That being said, grade-school teachers and thier bosses are finally getting a bit more savy with media relations. It's important for a school district to be seen in a positive light in the local paper and beyond.

Many district administrators and boards of education hire PR firms to help sell school budgets to the taxpayers. Usually those in the school vote for it and the senior citizens vote no. (So much for spending money on children first!)

Back to the issue:

I personally don't drink, and I don't think it's a good idea to have it easily available at a park. Image is everything. If a park is selling the idea of "FAMILY," that should be the focus.

I like the idea of alcohol-free seating at the ball game, but wish they weren't in the nosebleed section. (Talk about over-priced drinks). Yet, they sell a lot of beer at baseball, football, games etc.

It's been said before on other threads...do you really need alcohol to have a good time at a park?

Since I don't drink (and never even tried it) I have no experiences of how drinking would affect me.

I have seen intoxicated people ruin other people's good times for no reason other than lack of their own control. Granted it's rare to see at a park, but when it does happen it's not a good sight...especially in front of children.

As for the food argument...a heavy person eating crappy food is not going to mess up with your day. If anything, he or she will not be able to go on certain rides that you want to go on, so in a way, they are doing you a favor.

I find this thread fascinating.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 10:17 AM
People have consumed alcohol in family events for my entire life, including my own birthday parties. In much of Europe, family dinner includes wine every night. So at what point did the consumption of alcohol suddenly become anti-family?
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Saturday, January 19, 2008 11:42 AM
^I realize your question is somewhat rhetorical in point Jeff but it's a pretty fascinating one.

I know we have plenty of High Schoolers and college students here who are always looking for paper topics. If you're in a civics/sociology/social studies course it would probably make a great paper tying this current news issue with modern American attitudes towards alcohol and in turn answering Jeff's question, starting with stuff like the early Puritans, prohibition, the Temperance movement, the modern Evangelical movement, etc.

All I can say is it must be mindblowing for these kids to be told if you drink you'll puke and/or die, and then be bombarded with alcohol advertisements on a daily basis.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 11:45 AM
Which is exactly why black and white education doesn't work and gray area does.
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Saturday, January 19, 2008 1:55 PM
I gave a lecture on this very topic this week, and in fact this example makes a great illustration of how kids can be used to exploit the ideologies of others.

At this age, children's cognitive capabilties and capacity for moral reasoning are at an exciting but very immature state. Essentially, they are in an in-between stage of logic; beyond illogical thought, yet not yet capable of hypothetical reasoning. Nearly everything is black and white.

For example, a child is told the speed limit is 35 mph. An adult may go 36..40...ect...and not consider it speeding. In fact, a cop will not pull you over either. If the child, though, was the cop, he would pull you over for speeding and write a ticket for going even 36 mph. You were speeding. End of story.

This is also the time in our schools (at least in Ohio) when we initiate something called the DARE program; a complete waste of time that costs millions of dollars to fund every year. Every study done on DARE shows that it is completely useless, and has a null effect on kids drug use later in life. Why? What about all those kids that say very passionately, "drugs are gross man!" "youre an idiot if you use drugs!" etc...well they are here, in this stage of development, and you have told them this is good, and this is bad.

And so we have these kids, unable to see any "gray" area at all, and their "passion" is being used by the adults to manipulate the law towards their own ends. The problem? The children aren't capable of the kind of reasoning that is needed to pass a mandate, or a law. But what better to tug on heart-strings than "passionate" children?

If you would like other more "extreme" examples, I would suggest renting the movie "Jesus Camp", or a documentary on the recruitment of child soldiers in Africa or the Middle East. It's all operating on the same priniciple.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 2:15 PM
You've illustrated the same point I was making. Here are my questions, though:


Every study done on DARE shows that it is completely useless, and has a null effect on kids drug use later in life.

What about the impact it has on drug/alcohol use as kids? Studies are showing that kids are being introduced to the opportunity to drink and do drugs at earlier and earlier ages.


The children aren't capable of the kind of reasoning that is needed to pass a mandate, or a law.

I don't disagree with you there. But how would you suggest you teach these young minds about advocacy and finding their voice?


But what better to tug on heart-strings than "passionate" children?

I agree with you. But this thread has been focusing on the teacher's use of the children. I can't get onboard with that. I believe the journalist had an agenda with this article.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 2:18 PM
I think it's really ridiculous to equate parents or a school district telling third graders that alcohol is bad to warlords giving ten year olds M-16s and heroin and sending them into the streets to kill people, or convincing kids that Harry Potter is a "warlock" that god would have killed and they're going to hell for liking stories about him ...

Do you really believe that a third grader is capable of interpreting "gray" areas? I for one, don't. Kids get black and white because as you said, they see "Speed Limit 35" and it means 35, no more, no less. It takes a higher level of thinking to be able to understand that there are variations in radar guns, speedometers, weather and road conditions, etc. and 35 really means something in the 30-40 range.

So at this point in their lives, the choices you have to present to them are "alcohol is good" or "alcohol is bad" ... and they're going to use that knowledge as their basis of judgment for the next couple of years. I personally would rather have my kids assume it was bad (thereby avoiding it until they're mature enough to understand the gray areas), and learn otherwise, than assume it was good (thereby standing a greater chance to use it in excess at too young an age and actually show the "evil" parts of alcohol) and learn otherwise. And why can't we be more like Europe where it's served with every meal? Because the adults who set the example in this country are so much less mature about it, plain and simple. You really think JimBob in a Kansas trailer can show the kind of restraint with alcohol as a parent in the countryside of Italy? JimBob's a product of the history of this country where the restrictions placed on alcohol decades (even centuries) ago are still have repercussions on the way "adults" know how to use it.

... and you're comparing that to child soldiers? Give me an f'in break ...

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 2:53 PM
Haha i think 35 means something in the 30-35 range, but I guess imma safe driver so whatever...

I think this alcohol story is ridiculous. Many theme parks sell the stuff and there is no issue.

Plus we all know they are going to charge something like $20 an ounce, so only the rich will get buzzed. lol...

Seaworld has a hospitality house people... and it's not for complaints. It is there one can sample a number of Busch products, and I'm not talking about Dolphin statues... you can even take a class in beer, as you take shots of every one the company makes.

Nobody complains about that... where you can get buzzed, for free.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 4:56 PM
Jeff ---> Interesting point. I never though about that. There are school trips to baseball games all of the time, and surely alcohol is served. Even the main scoreboard at many parks (Our school goes to Shea) has a huge display for some form of beer.

Even though I don't "drink," I'm sure it's safe to say that the stadium prices are comparable to the high prices at parks. (Same for food and soda, etc). Yet I'm sure the stadium sells MUCH more beer than a typical non-resort amusement park. The profit must be HUGE!

When pre-flux (now 9) goes to birthday parties, they are generally in places where alcohol isn't served.

Carrie M. & Ohio Stater---> In New York they are also finding that DARE is a bust. It isn't having a lasting impact and it's expensive to send a uniformed police officer to every classroom in a school. The certificate that the kids recieve at the end of the program is usually left at school or tossed.

Impulsive ---> Very true! "Gray areas" are the hardest things to teach elementary school children on ANY subject.

Coasterghost ---> True, you can get liquid samples at Sea World and I think at Bush Gardens, but not at Sesame Place. I guess you can't down one with Ernie and Cookie Monster.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 10:23 PM
OhioStater is right on, and I'm glad to hear there's research out there to back it up.

What's sad though is that the need to put everything in black and white terms has spread into adulthood as the basis for moral standards, especially amongst politicians. You're for or against the war, for or against abortion, etc., unwilling to acknowledge the place somewhere in the middle. It's annoying.

I couldn't actually get all the way through Jesus Camp. It was really, really disturbing. And honestly, I don't see it as being that different from this.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 10:27 PM
Actually, I am currently dealing with a person who thinks the world is black and white. And boy howdy, is it ever hard to convince her that there are gray areas...

I still think it was wrong of the teacher to manipulate and use her students to try to accomplish a personal goal.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008 4:15 AM
As a father, if my daughter (at 12 years of age) came home and told me her teacher and fellow students all said alcohol in general was evil and you would puke and die, I would be in the principal's office right away.

I enjoy my beer or occasional mixed drink, and I have done it while my daughter is around. I am not going to let the educational system pursuade my daughter to think something like alcohol is evil.

They are there to teach math, history, science, etc. They are not there to teach supposed right from wrong.

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