DD2 (age 13)just did a report on teenaged alcohol use for her 8th grade class. Instead of just doing a report on the dangers of alcohol, she included a lot of information on healthy drinking habits. The first part of the report was the information she figured the teacher would expect: dangers of binge drinking, statistics on alcohol poisoning, long term health risks from excessive alcohol use, etc.
But then the second part of the report mentioned that all the dangers of alcohol use stem from overuse, and that there is
such thing as safe and responsible drinking. She then went on to explain health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, and then went on to describe responsible alcohol use: only drinking with meals, drinking in "safe" company, limiting yourself to small amounts of alcohol, not drinking too often, etc. Then she mentioned how you need to wait a certain amount of time before driving (such as, have half a glass of wine with dinner, hang out an hour after you finish it, then drive home.)
When she presented her report in class, the teacher didn't want to hear it. During the "discussion" part of the presentation, the teacher didn't let DD2 defend her position, but kept jumping in with things like "there's no such thing as safe drinking, it's the nature of alcohol to drink too. much" and "well, what if you have 5 drinks and then wait an hour to drive? That's not safe!" (Um, didn't DD2 just define "responsible drinking" as having 1/2 to 2 drinks, depending on body weight?)
I really hope she doesn't lose points on the project because the teacher disagreed with DD2's conclusions. If she does, then I'll help her fight it. This project is too big a part of her grade. Overall, I get the feeling that the teacher is one of those people who never learned responsible drinking habits from HER parents!
She's also a fairly inexperienced teacher- a long term sub while the regular health teacher is on maternity leave. I suspect a more experienced teacher would have handled the presentation very differently- let DD2 defend herself and answer other students questions, and then reiterate "kids shouldn't drink, period" after the presentation was over.
And to the person with a family history of alcoholism: part of responsible drinking is knowing your family history. If you have a family history of alcoholism, then you're at a much higher risk of developing alcoholism yourself. The responsible thing might be to choose never to drink alcohol at all- and that's a perfectly valid choice. But, for those without the predisposition towards alcoholism, moderate drinking (1 alcoholic beverage a week) is perfectly safe. Similarly, those with family history of diabetes need to be more careful with sugar consumption than "healthy" individuals.