EDITORIAL: Everyone should show up for the first day of school sober

“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.”

That’s a quote most often attributed to George Orwell, although the authorship is sometimes debated.

Sounds like Orwell, anyhow. And let’s face it, he was right about so many things.

Assuming at least the sentiment is veracious, here is a whole whack of journalism for you.

Monday night a bunch of Princeton high school students are most likely going to get stupidly drunk, because it’s the last day of summer holidays before school begins.

And it’s not just Princeton. Newspaper colleagues from other communities in B.C. report similar back-to-the-books traditions in their own towns and cities.

Here the event is called Tequila Sunrise – the implication being that everyone stays awake all night and then either passes out or stumbles through the doors of Princeton Secondary School to begin a new year.

According to the vice-superintendent of School District 58, Jameel Aziz, last year several students showed up at PSS on the first day “not ready for school” and had to be picked up by their parents.

The truly shocking element about Tequila Sunrise, and like events, is that they are commonly understood and accepted.

No adult is going to outright condone the behaviour – but it’s acknowledged with a winking or deliberately closed eye.

Everybody knows…nobody talks about it.

Kids will be kids and it’s been going on for years. Right?

It’s wrong.

The hypocrisy is staggering. Think about the effort and funds that go into promoting initiatives like “Dry Grad” (always a good photo op), and on encouraging healthy attitudes towards drugs and alcohol. A student in Princeton can’t, for example, wear a t-shirt to class if it sports a Budweiser logo.

Tequila Sunrise is not a harmless right of passage.

Eventually some teenager poised for graduation is going to succumb to alcohol poisoning, choke on his own vomit, get in her car and run into a tree, receive second degree burns from falling into a fire pit, or be the victim of an assault during this “tradition.”

Parents, at 11 p.m. on Monday night, ask yourselves this question: Do you know where your children are?

– Similkameen Spotlight

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