Friday, 22 January 2010

Booze-fuelled pupils

IT was with a certain amount of glee that SDLP MLA Thomas Burns announced that over the last five years 360 pupils had been expelled or excluded from school because they were boozed up.

Parents and schools should seek to instigate harsh discipline the South Antrim MLA said, and a union rowed in to say that the problem was much bigger and school bags must be searched for illicit alcohol.

In the same week, a pilot programme on self harm revealed that alcohol was a factor in two thirds of all cases of self harm.

At the risk of sounding all lily-livered and liberal, one must point out that perhaps it might be better to find out why these pupils are coming into school drunk.

Is it peer pressure? Is it bad parental examples or supervision? Is it that poor self-esteem can be boosted by swig or six of vodka? Or is it that these young people need help?

Certainly preachy, holier than thou rants from politicians and unions aren’t going to stop teenagers taking a drink. But perhaps it might be better to find out why some take it ‘too far’ and put themselves and others at risk.

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