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Parents Drink Beer; Coach Fired

A Frederick County high school softball coach was fired recently for -- get this -- letting parents supply and drink beer at an end-of-the-season party that he hosted at his house, according to the Frederick News-Post Online.

The coach, Brad Young, apparently violated a drug-, alcohol- and tobacco-free workplace and school system policy, schools spokeswoman Marita Loose told the news outlet earlier this week. Young says he didn't realize that his house counted as school property and that alcohol was not allowed.

So, let's get this right. A parent brings beer to a party at someone's house. Some parents drink the beer. Neither Young nor any of the softball players touch the alcohol. Someone tattles and he loses his job.

Now, I'm one of those folks who rarely drinks anything harder than water or iced tea. And, really, I can't even stand the smell of beer, much less the taste. But that doesn't mean I begrudge the adults around me the right to drink the beverage. And particularly when the drinking is done responsibly. But -- gasp -- kids were there. And THOSE parents were sending the kids the wrong message.

Or were they? When parents drink responsibly, maybe, just maybe, their teenagers learn, too, how to be responsible drinkers. It's not like these parents were driving while over the legal limit of alcohol (at least as far as we know). And these parents weren't nursing an infant while drunk -- apparently a recipe for child endangerment charges.

Young says he thinks the school board is trying to tell parents how to, well, parent. Do you think he's right?

Do you drink alcohol around your kids? Have you always done so?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  July 17, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Teens
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Comments


Wow. I am stunned. Poor man. I think that is carrying things a bit too far. I drink alcohol around my children. I do not get drunk, nor does any other parent I know. I don't see anything wrong with it. As you said, when you drink responsibly you teach your children the same.

I just cannot imagine how a reasonable society has a problem with this man having OTHER adults drink at his house. I hope he gets his job back. If he wants it.

Posted by: Stormy1 | July 17, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Haven't studies shown rather consistently that parents who exhibit correct alcohol consumption and behavior in their households have children who are LESS likely to abuse or overindulge in alcohol as they are growing up? Have we not consistently shown that treating alcohol as the "evil forbidden fruit" only heightens its appeal among teens and young adults?

Posted by: LNER4472 | July 17, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

You have got to be kidding me. The more they make alcohol such a 'taboo' and 'evil' object - the more the kids will take to it as a form of rebellion. The key words for the story is "responsible drinking". What does it teach the kids when you hide your drinking. Folks, believe it or not - the kids notice things like that. And yes they will be curious and want to experiment. A taste of wine at holiday dinners let's them know that it's not a big deal. What they've done in Frederick County - is an extreme case of the "Nanny State".

Posted by: MDL7 | July 17, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Drinking a beer amounts to sending the wrong 'message'? Yes, I drink around my boys, no, I do not get drunk. Alcohol is not bad, bad behavior is. I speak honestly and openly with my sons on many topics at a level they are ready for. They know what beer is, they know they aren't allowed to drink it and its no big deal. Why create this silly taboo around a simple beer? Sometimes, and I don't know why, I am surprised by just how silly and prudish people can be.

Posted by: timbern | July 17, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

The issue here was probably that it was a "team" end of year party. In other words, everyone who participated on the team would be there, as an unofficial yet official team event. In that instance, it probably was inappropriate for there to be beer. I think firing the coach was probably too extreme of a penalty, but some sort of censure was probably appropriate.

At the very least, the coach might petition for his job back. Also, other coaches who are paid to coach underage teams should take note and protect themselves when planning end of season parties.

Posted by: Concernedschoolworker | July 17, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

After coaching for 30 years, nothing surprises me anymore. What's stunning about this is that it took place in the coach's home, not on a school owned property. How can his employers legislate what he can do in his house? And, if he provides a setting where parents can drink responsibly, and model appropriate behavior for teens, then he is doing what coaches are hired to do- teach and model.

Posted by: felizzi1 | July 17, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Frederick County Public Schools, (adj); ignorant.

Posted by: therev1 | July 17, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Pure insanity. Unfortunately, school "officials" seems to have trouble exercising "proper restraint" when they feel they have a little power and go on binge episodes. Not a great example for young people. Firing the decision makers would be appropriate? Maybe.

Posted by: pjohn2 | July 17, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

The masses paying for the indiscretions of the few.

Posted by: tslats | July 17, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

As a childless adult I probably can't say how I would react if my child were at such a party. I can however comment that when I was a child I attended many similar parties with my parents where alcohol (mainly beer) was available for the adults. It was no big deal. Nobody ever got drunk and none of the kids were lured into a life of depravity. We learned that adult beverages could be safely consumed by adults if used responsibly. I think that whoever made this horrendous decision to mete out the excessive punishment may have a history of overindulgence or lack of self control themselves that they project onto others.

Posted by: AshburnRes | July 17, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I suspect concernedschoolworker has it right: they get their authority from the fact that it was a "team" party. When I played in college, our coach sat us down and very clearly explained that we could not wear any part of our uniform when we went downtown to the bars nights/weekends -- if something bad happened, it might look like a team-sanctioned event and could get the college in trouble.

Not that that makes this right. Why the [bleep] grown adults can't have a beer at a party is beyond me. "Think of the poor children"? Yeah, sure -- those "poor children" probably had more beer at their ownend of season party. :-)

The person who really needs help is whoever felt the need to go tattle on the coach. Get a life.

Posted by: laura33 | July 17, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

My husband and I don't drink enough to teach our kids responsible drinking. Good? bad? I don't know. We simply don't drink that much. It usually amounts to a beer or two every few months after the kids go to bed on a Saturday night. I know my husband doesn't like to drink in front of the kids but I personally don't care if the kids are around or not. For me, the only reason why I drink after they go to bed is because it is usually a "winding down a hectic day" beer which can only happen after the hectic part goes to sleep.

Posted by: Billie_R | July 17, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Maybe they should fire teachers and coaches who *gasp* drive cars in full view of our poor little children! Driving is something adults do, and one day our children may do the same when they grow up, but driving is involved in countless deaths and injuries every year, not to mention the suffering caused. As always, think of the children! ™

Posted by: hitpoints | July 17, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

My opinion? This was extreme and absurd. It happened because of "zero tolerance" and a vindictive parent.

(No, I don't know any of the coaches involved.)

Some background:

- this was considered a "school event" because it was the team's official end-of-season party. Whether it was at the coach's house, a parent's house, a restaurant, or the school cafeteria didn't matter. It was a team event, so it's a school event, so the school rules applied. (The coaches in attendance apparently didn't realize that.)

- note that this is not unique to Frederick County. A few years ago a Howard County high school group went to Europe in the summer as a "school trip." (It's fairly common; Spanish clubs, French clubs, bands, etc. make the trips.) While in Paris a couple of students had a glass of wine at a cafe - perfectly legal in Paris. They were suspended when they got back and the trip's sponsor/chaperones were relieved of their duties. Yes, on a school-approved trip, "school property" extends to sidewalk cafes in Paris.

- (FWIW - if the team party had been in a restaurant, and other people not with the team party had been drinking alcohol, there's no problem. So if the parents had sat at different tables and weren't part of the "party" and drank, then life's good. On the other hand, if a parent sat at the team table and drank, we're back to "zero tolerance.")

- "zero tolerance" is the watchword. No alcohol at a "school event." As we've discussed many times, "zero tolerance" eliminates the need to think; it eliminates gray areas. "If alcohol at school event then responsible school system employees are punished." No thinking, no lawyers, no lawsuits. Easy-peezy for the school system. Note that "punishment" doesn't necessarily mean firing; it means you can't be responsible for that team/club/activity. The JV coach, who was there and is a teacher, wasn't fired from his teaching job; he was fired as a coach. The varsity coach was fired from his coaching job and can't coach for three years; he's not a teacher so he that didn't enter into the equation.

- In general, a male coach hosting a team party for a high school girl's team at his house is a bad idea, even if all the parents are invited. It just opens up opportunities for too many bad situations and too many rumors, etc.

- Although the complaint to the school board was anonymous, there's general agreement on who made it. (There always is - kids know what's going on.) The 'suspect' is a parent with a long-time grudge against the coach; it appears that she finally got revenge.

So - know the rules; be careful what you do; and be careful who you make an enemy out of. Some folks have very long memories and are very vindictive.

(The basis for the coach's appeal is that the rules were never explained to him - nobody gave him the policy manual.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 17, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm not saying that this situation is right -- but it sounds similar to the rules about there never being any alcohol at a Girl Scout function. It's always bothered me that when a group of moms who are mostly friendly go along to chaperone a group of girls on a campout, they can't have a glass of wine at night around the campfire once the girls are asleep. Not a bucket of wine. Not enough wine to impair my judgment after which I will have to drive an injured scout to the ER, chop firewood, etc. Just a simple glass of wine with friends around the campfire at the end of a stressful day. My understanding is that this has more to do with our overly litigious society where everone worries about liability than it does with telling anyone how to 'parent'. It's all about the what if's. What if . . a parent had more than one beer at the coaches house and then drove home? What if . . there was also a swimming pool and the only person who knew CPR had less than fully acute judgement because he had had a beer and someone dove in and hit his head on the pool? And so forth. The solution is to figure out how to get people to stop suing each other (remember the conversation about the lawyers and the trampoline earlier this week). It's not about parenting but about liability.

Posted by: Justsaying4 | July 17, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

INSANE. I hope those parents are asking the School Board to give this guy his job back.

Posted by: sunflower571 | July 17, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I absolutely would and do drink in front of my kids--- one drink over dinner. Generally wine. I do not get drunk nor would I ever drive under the influence. It is important for them to see us act responsibly. Wine has additional health benefits which are important to me due to my strong family history of heart disease.

I wish schools would be as aggressive about issues that matter. This will only make people more resentful and make teens feel more strongly that the schools are out of touch.

Ridiculous.

Posted by: DRo1 | July 17, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

IT'S JUST FREAKING BEER! This is ridiculous! So, basically the school can dictate what happens on your own property? What's next? You can't pray at your home because there are students there? You can't take an Advil because that is a prohibited drug on school property therefore since a student is in your house, you cannot get rid of a headache? I think that whole "drug-, alcohol- and tobacco-free workplace and school system policy" ends once students enter private property such as a person's house. As long as there are other parent's present and minors are not drinking then I don't see the issue here. Back in the day, coaches could smoke cigarettes, slap you silly, or just verbally put you in your place. Now, if a coach has beer available for parents at a party, he is canned. Where is this country going?

Posted by: CaptainJack1 | July 17, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Zero tolerance is fine except when it comes to athletics. The Redskins just drafted a doper. If you want to see a real case of what happens when this sorto f thing takes hold read about the football coach in Caroline County who has been convicted for providing performance enhancing drugs to his players, was forced to move from at least 2 schools and got his newest positionover the opposition of parents because his 'friend' sets on the school board and could not see why a conviction involing minors was a big deal.

Posted by: KBlit | July 17, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

The world would be a lot better off if all the prudent reformers would stick to reforming and inproving their own lives instead of of everyone else's. After all that is what Christ taught!

Posted by: OldCoot1 | July 17, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Same old zero tolerance extremist insanity.

Posted by: grouchcouch | July 17, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Well, I guess I'm the lone dissenter. I don't think it's wise to drink in front of your children. (Now, I admit, I don't think it's wise to drink at all [I don't], but if you must, I recommend not doing so in front of your children). Part of my reason for abstaining from alcohol has to do with its effects on others, not on me. That is, I'm concerned about the person who cannot, in the oft-repeated mantra here, 'drink responsibly', - i.e. the alcoholic and potential alcoholic. I counsel alcoholics, and have come to believe that there are genetic factors involved in alcoholism. I don't know of any full-proof way to determine whether one has the disposition toward alcoholism (perhaps such exists), but I know of a sure way to never find out - abstain. Limiting one's freedom for the sake of others is taught in Scripture (see 1 Corinthians 8), for any who may care about that, and assumes an affirmative answer to the ancient question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" We're all ultimately responsible for our own actions, to be sure. But one of our responsibilities is to consider others in what we choose to do.

My parents did not drink, and I never, ever felt pressure to investigate alcohol because it was 'taboo'. My parents did speak with me about it, but did not feel the need to give a demonstration. It would seem there are many things about which we should talk to our kids, which do not require a demonstration, no?

Posted by: ekklesia1 | July 17, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

This is very, very common in the Washington area (I can't speak for other places). Whether it is a Scout event, a youth-league sports event or a school event, official policies usually state that adults can't consume alcohol around the kids. Period. I used to think it was a stupid rule, too. However, a recent study at our high school showed that over half of the Senior class drank alcohol in one two-week period and 33% reported drinking over 5 drinks in one sitting. Many, many parents at the school are extremely concerned. Whether your opinion is that adults drinking in front of kids is okay or not - there are plenty of people in the community that think parents should model the behavior they want from their teens, which is no drinking. While I would have a drink in front of my own kids, I will not drink in front of their friends.

All that said - I do feel really sorry for this coach. There are a lot of mean people out there way up on their high horses. I sometimes wonder how anyone has the courage to become a teacher these days.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | July 17, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Fredneck County just proves: "zero tolerance" = Zero Brains!

Posted by: snowbucks | July 17, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat, you mention the Paris episode from Howard County. I have a similar story, yet with a completely different ending. When I was a junior in HS, we too took a trip to Europe. School sponsored. The differnce is that our parents signed release forms ALLOWING us to drink. Teachers weren't fired, or scolded, or anything. Well, they were thanked. For getting us kids out of the house for three weeks. And it's not like this was the dark ages, I graduated in 1994. This trip was in 1993.

Posted by: steved420 | July 17, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I hope the parent that tattled is satisfied, what a weenie. This little known "rule" about a team party being a school event, even if it is off school property, was used to fire a man with no prior problems. I am not saying this coach should not be sanctioned or warned, but to fire him is outrageous.

My dad coached for many years, HS football and Pop Warner league with my older brother. While this was many years ago, I remember parents bringing their coolers of beer to games on a Saturday afternoons. Coaches routinely took the team out for a hot dog and soda at the local "establishment" after practice, the parents picked them up and joined them for a beer. I don't ever remember any parent acting out of line, it was all pretty normal to me and I am sure it was happening all across the US in the 60's and 70's.

Fast forward 30-40 years and my husband is a coach for a rec league, while it is not a school event, we hold our end of the season parties at restaurnts. This allows those parents that want to drink to do so, those that don't are fine. Again, no one is acting irresponsibly at these parties.

AB, I couldn't disagree more about the male coach with female players. The parents were invited, most attended and this man opened up his home as a gesture to the team. This is the same thinking that has led to the "no hugging students" - policies even in elementary schools. It is absurd that we can not mix school, coaching and communities together without playing defense because of possible "perceptions".

Frederick County has the authority to review this, and if this coach is not reinstated I hope the parents continue to make this an issue. This is one way to tell coaches and volunteers that they shouldn't even bother dedicating their time because something at somepoint will go horribly wrong.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | July 17, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I have three teen age children and my husband and I drink socially at parties and sometimes at home. Neither of us are big drinkers. I think it is appropriate to teach them that there are things that adults can do that they can not and drinking is one of these things.

These zero tolerance polices of schools seems to have done little to change the nature of teenage drinking. We feel the best way to keep them sober is to carefully monitor where they are, who they are with, and pray.

Posted by: gahtah | July 17, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

If it hadn't been spelled out to the coach in writing that his house would count as school property for such an event I would just issue a warning and not actually fire him.

But I see the point of the rule. No alcohol means no alcohol.

If the parents can't enjoy a kid-centered event without alcohol maybe they need to think a little harder about whether alcohol is a bigger part of their lives than they realize.

Posted by: RedBird27 | July 17, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Just another reason why Fredneck needs some change and hope.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Yeagh!

Posted by: bs2004 | July 17, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

The rule clearly states : No alcoholic beverages at a school sponsored event.
the coach clearly sponsored an event where alcoholic beverages were consumed openly and freely.
The coach gets removed of his coaching responsibility.

Like all orderly societies, we are governed by a system of written laws, rules and regulations, not social justice.

The person/people that were required to do the firing probably feel much, much worse about having to do it than any of us. As a result, this incident will be used as an example of what not to do for all coaches from here on out at that school.

Other than lessen the disciplinary action used to enforce this rule beforehand, what else could have been done? Fat chance of that happening in this punitive happy, revenge oriented, unforgiving society we live in today.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 17, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"Part of my reason for abstaining from alcohol has to do with its effects on others, not on me. That is, I'm concerned about the person who cannot, in the oft-repeated mantra here, 'drink responsibly', - i.e. the alcoholic and potential alcoholic." ekklesia1

I'm not trying to be a brat, but help me understand the logic here...are we to abstain from donuts and fried chicken in deference to potential diabetics or those prone to heart failure? Should we not run a marathon because it may model behavior the obese should not engage in? Even Jesus enjoyed a good glass of wine (at least at weddings)...

Posted by: 06902 | July 17, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

This is the problem with "zero tolerance." It makes us feel good to say that something negative, like teenage drinking, won't be tolerated, but for every rule there's a situation we haven't foreseen. Giving some leeway to administrators would help avoid ridiculous situations like this one.

I will add, however, that adults who give kids booze at teen parties don't help, since that's part of why we've ended up with overly strict rules like this one. And as a caterer at a bat mitzvah, I had to deny alcohol to a parent who wanted their child to have wine. I wouldn't care if it was in their home (I've lived in France, so I get it, I do), but my company could have lost its license! The laws are really strict about these things. So on either side of this debate, we've got a handful of people who forget consequences for others, which leaves the majority of us paying the price.

Posted by: TracyDC | July 17, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"Like all orderly societies, we are governed by a system of written laws, rules and regulations, not social justice.

what else could have been done?" Whacky

Unjust laws, rules and regulations are amended, abolished or overruled all the time. Not every rule is a good rule. Tyrants run "orderly" societies too...

Posted by: 06902 | July 17, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I think no alcohol at a school sanctioned event is a great rule! What I disagree with is the zero tolerance. The coach should have been reprimanded, but allowed to still coach (maybe this is a case were the 3 strikes and your out rule should apply).

If it's a child centered party -- then it should be a child centered party: no alcohol involved. It bothers me greatly that with sports, beer has become such an integral part of the experience.

Posted by: peonymom | July 17, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I would liked to be shocked by this. But I'm not. There's always someone out there who likes to tattle on everyone else. There are alays parents who think they know how to parent better than everyone else. There are also those who claim religious superiority on these issue and take the opportunity to demostrate it. It's typical of puritanical USA. This is just another example of how a religious minority that came here hundreds of years ago is still having too much influence on mainstream normal people.

Do any of these do-gooders ever think that if things weren't taboo (ie, drugs, sex, alcohol etc...), that maybe fewer people who have problems with them?

I applaud parents that are open about things with their children. These children will grow up healthier and with less prejudices as well as more responsible.

Posted by: Cider_Joe | July 17, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Captain Jack:
"IT'S JUST FREAKING BEER! This is ridiculous! So, basically the school can dictate what happens on your own property? What's next? You can't pray at your home because there are students there?"

If it's a school event, and you try to have a prayer involving all participants, you're running a good chance of getting sued, yes. What you do privately is ALWAYS your business, but if you try to coerce students at a "school event" to practice religion, you're taking a chance. Not saying it's right; just saying it is.

"You can't take an Advil because that is a prohibited drug on school property therefore since a student is in your house, you cannot get rid of a headache?"

IANAL. However, if you GIVE an underage student an Advil without his/her parents permission, you can be in trouble, yes. If you TAKE an Advil on your own, or if you give an Advil to someone with parental permission, or if the student is an adult and gives you permission to give him an Advil, you're fine.

(This past Spring, player A on my daughter's high school softball team got hit on the hand with a pitch. A few innings later, she remarks to player B in the dugout "my hand still really hurts!" Player B responds "I have an Advil in my bat bag if you want it." Player A says "no thanks." One of the mothers overheard and reported over the school system's anonymous tip line that (1) Player A admitted having drugs at school in violation of the rules; and (2) Player A was offering to DISTRIBUTE drugs at school in violation of the rules. The entire team was formally counseled about this behavior. The coach was not fired only because she had no knowledge of this, unlike the Walkersville case where the coach DID know about the beer.)

" I think that whole "drug-, alcohol- and tobacco-free workplace and school system policy" ends once students enter private property such as a person's house."

Then never host a "school event" in your house.

"As long as there are other parent's present and minors are not drinking then I don't see the issue here. Back in the day, coaches could smoke cigarettes, slap you silly, or just verbally put you in your place. Now, if a coach has beer available for parents at a party, he is canned. Where is this country going?"

Going? It's already there.

I'm not saying I support any of this insanity. I just live with it, as will you folks when your kids get older.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 17, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I guess I would simply ask; was the parent or guardian for each and every teenager at the party invited to oversee the activities of their child?

Was the Coach intending to be the supervisor for all the teenage players?

The one thing I would say is; what would be the outcome of a parent who maybe drank even a little in excess and injured one of the players? Wouldn't the school be defending itself from a lawsuit?

Maybe the school should understand that end of the season parties are inevitable, and should have set more strict guidelines when it came to parties of this sort.

Or the coach should have simply organized a private party and said he was inviting his friends which included the parents and families of the ball players.

But regardless, firing the coach for this is a little extreme if the school failed to set some proper guidelines and informed coaches before this event.

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | July 17, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Wacky, You are assuming all coaches, teachers and students know what constitutes a "school sponsored event". While everyone involved has an obligation to know the rules and probably signs their life (and career) away if they break one, the county has deference in applying the penalty. Ignorance of the law is no defense, but this was not law.

If you are in favor of no-tolerance policies then you should be happy with this decision, much like suspending students for taking ibuprofen or tylenol - or their BC pill - at school.

Laws and policies are different.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | July 17, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Wow. There sure are a bunch of idiots in the baby-boomer generation.

Posted by: sknyluv | July 17, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"AB, I couldn't disagree more about the male coach with female players. The parents were invited, most attended and this man opened up his home as a gesture to the team. This is the same thinking that has led to the "no hugging students" - policies even in elementary schools. It is absurd that we can not mix school, coaching and communities together without playing defense because of possible "perceptions"."

cheeky, I think you and I are actually in agreement on this. We're just looking at it from different viewpoints.

I'm looking at it from the point of view of a coach trying to protect himself in a litigious society; you're looking at it from the point of view of what's good for team bonding. (Since I run a large girls' softball program I have to look at it from the "protection" viewpoint A LOT.)

I personally think that it's good to have the team over to your house; it's a good bonding experience. Any time I've coached a rec or travel team in any sport we have an end-of-season party and it's generally at my house (unless somebody has a house with a pool :-). I take several steps to protect myself, though: (a) my wife is always there, and I prefer if my older daughters are there, too; (b) parents and family members of the players are ALWAYS there; (c) I make sure I'm NEVER alone anywhere with any of the girls; (d)no horseplay that can possibly be misconstrued.

It's a shame; it really is, but in today's society you have to be pretty careful.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 17, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Wow. There sure are a bunch of idiots in the baby-boomer generation.

Posted by: sknyluv | July 17, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Idiocy knows no generational bounds.

Posted by: 06902 | July 17, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

For ArmyBrat1, would you to support suspending the student who take communion on a school trip if the attend church on a Sunday morning while on the trip? Does the school property extend to french churches. Would it be a "team event if after every game some of the families went out to dinner and oh my god some of them had wine? The zero tolerance movement is probably one of the biggest causes of future alcohol and drug abuse for today's children. It is a rule devised by "authority figures" too lazy to do their jobs and take decisions and justify them.

Posted by: crete | July 17, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

If the football team gets together and watches a college or pro game, with the coach be suspended? The beer commercials are certainly more frequent than a teenager's observation of a parent drinking beer.

Posted by: ohmd | July 17, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I've seen some comments where people say it's OK to model "responsible" drinking in front of their kids. It seems rediculus to me though, other than through complete abstinence, to model "responsible" smoking.

Which prompts me to ask out of curiosity, does anybody know if it's unlawful to light up at an outdoor school sporting event such as a football or softball game?

I've been to many games and have sometimes noticed that people were smoking. I would think it would be against the law, but I've never heard of anybody getting arrested for it.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 17, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

This is political correctness run amok. I'm not a lawyer but I think the coach has a very good legal case for wrongful termination. I've been to plenty of neighborhood parties where adults drank alcohol responsibly around children.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | July 17, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I encourage you to speak out against this ridiculous decision.

Marita Loose
Executive Director, Communication Services
Frederick County Public Schools
301-696-6900
marita.loose@fcps.org

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | July 17, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I think the firing may be an extreme, but I agree with an earlier posting. If you need to have beer to have fun, it's already a problem. Why set a bad example for your kids by driving with alcohol in your system at all, when it was a school related event? It doesn't take but a few beers to be over the limit, so I seriously doubt there were no impaired people driving away from the party.

Posted by: tojo45 | July 17, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

what horsecr@p. Just another example of our scared to death of litagation, nanny school system. Time for adults to realize that no everything is a happy meal. Time to sue for your job back....

Posted by: pwaa | July 17, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Tojo and others: Who said these parents "needed to have a beer to have fun"?? Were they witnessed perspiring and shaking due to withdrawal, only to open the beer and gasp "ahhhhh, I needed that..."

No, I think the more reasonable explanation is they wanted to have a beer. It is legal, and enjoyable to many people - that some don't enjoy it does not mean it is wrong. These parents brought the beer, unknowningly breaking a vague school policy, and the result was the coach got fired. I saw one of the parents that brought the beer on TV, her stmt was "if we knew the result of bringing beer was going to be the coach getting fired, we would have never brought it" - meaning they would have still come sans the beer.

Please don't confuse wanting a beer to needing a beer. Although, after reading some of these comments I am going home to crack one open a cold one and toast the silliness of Frederick County.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | July 17, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

If you want to speak out, here's a better email than the one I posted previously.

boe@fcps.org

This goes to the school board and the superintendent.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | July 17, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm really wondering why a group of mothers would need to drink a glass of wine at a girl scout campout.

Aren't you supposed to be "roughing it" and showing them how to "survive" in the great outdoors? That there's more to life than Play Station and the Jonas Brothers?

In my opinion you're showing the girls that you can't go a weekend without your wine.

Yeah, yeah, "after they go to sleep." You have to take extra care to pack wine for a camping trip, so I'm sure they would notice.

Posted by: bluetear | July 17, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm thinking that the type of person who says "if you can't have fun without having a beer" is probably the person who tattled on Mr. Young.

Yes, I said "tattled". Because it is childlike and inane to report to some Powers-That-Be that adults other than the coach brought and drank beer to a party hosted by an obviously loved, respected and generous coach.

I'm not a big drinker, but even I have been known to bring a six-pack of good beer to a barbecue. It's just not a huge deal for responsible adults to drink one beer or two with dinner on a summer evening. The people who think so are the ones who create policies like this.

Mr. Young was correct - it is not the school board's place to enact a policy like this. If parents are giving kids alcohol and someone is upset about it, the police can actually be called in. It is not the board's place to govern casual, non-school sponsored, off-campus gatherings. Period.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | July 17, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

100% of the failure of American education is the fault and direct responsibility of the education industry.

This is just one more example of how these people cannot be trusted to run anything, make good judgments about anything, and ARE BASICALLY UNQUALIFIED TO RUN ANYTHING LARGER THAN A BAKE SALE.

The fact is that "failed teachers become failed administrators" for the last 60 years!

FIRE ALL ADMINISTRATORS AND MAKE THEM RE-APPLY HIRING ONLY THE ONES WITH BUSINESS DEGREES, COMMERCIAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE.

OUTLAW TENURE.

REQURE AN ADVANCED DEGREE IN THE SUBJECT A TEACHER IS HIRED TO TEACH.

ELIMINATE THE TEACHERS LOUNGE.

REQUIRE 99% OF ALL FUNDS BE SPENT IN THE CLASSROOM


Posted by: onestring | July 17, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Why aren't the parents who brought the beer being made accountable????????????
Fine the beer-bringers $100 each person and be done with it. This is just the beginning. Soon your local govment will be telling you what you can and cannot do in your own home, among other things we all take for granted. Watch out sheeple... your rights are being slowly eroded...

Posted by: not4n | July 17, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

yes we drink in front of our kids. We are adults, doing legal adult things. When my kids are adults they can enjoy doing legal adult things.

Posted by: pwaa | July 17, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I'll answer these. Again, IANAL; I'm an engineer. But I'll let you know what we've been told through now two children graduating high school, the third entering her senior year and the fourth still in middle school. I don't agree with a lot of these rules, but they are the rules as we've been told.

"For ArmyBrat1, would you to support suspending the student who take communion on a school trip if the attend church on a Sunday morning while on the trip? Does the school property extend to french churches."

ANSWER: there's a difference between "voluntary" and "coercion" where religion is concerned. My wife has chaperoned the high school chorus on several trips; in April to NYC. On Sunday morning of that trip she took seven kids WHO WANTED TO GO to Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. (Two of the kids who went weren't Catholic; they just wanted to see the very famous cathedral.) So long as its voluntary, there's no problem. If the chorus director had FORCED every child on the trip to go to Mass at St. Patrick's, that would have been very different.

Do you acknowledge that there's a difference between "voluntary" and "coercion"?

"Would it be a "team event if after every game some of the families went out to dinner and oh my god some of them had wine?"

ANSWER: NO! A team event/school event is one that is organized and run by a coach or other responsible official. If a few players - even a bunch of players - and their families want to get together and do things that are not organized and run by a school official or coach, it's NOT a team event and school rules don't apply. Do you understand that?

(And FWIW, very often after long tournament Saturdays with my daughters' softball teams, the coaches and their families - including their daughters - stop at a restaurant and have dinner, occasionally including a Hacker Pschorr or two for the adults. That's not a team event; it's a few of us relaxing together.)

"The zero tolerance movement is probably one of the biggest causes of future alcohol and drug abuse for today's children."

ANSWER: I have no clue whether that's correct or not.

"It is a rule devised by "authority figures" too lazy to do their jobs and take decisions and justify them. "

ANSWER: I agree with that.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 17, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Fine the beer-bringers $100 each person and be done with it. This is just the beginning. Soon your local govment will be telling you what you can and cannot do in your own home...

Posted by: not4n | July 17, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Who would have the authority to levy such a fine?

Why would you advocate a bizzare (presumably government) fine in one sentence and then warn about the dangers of govt. limits on freedom in the next?

Posted by: 06902 | July 17, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Just imagine the ruckus if some of the parents hadn't just had a beer, but smoked a cigarette and/or took a prescribed medication? Gadzooks! The coach would have had to be "put down" for the safety of the education system.

The intrusion of school system policies into behavior outside of the "school environment" (a term very open to interpretation) has really gone over the top in the last 10-15 years. Isn't it sad that this intrusion is focused on "prohibited behaviors" yet often overlooks situations where children are abused or neglected at home?

Posted by: joe_b_stanley | July 17, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

fr the article:

>...Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 07/17/2009
Parents Drink Beer; Coach Fired
A Frederick County high school softball coach was fired recently for -- get this -- letting parents supply and drink beer at an end-of-the-season party that he hosted at his house, according to the Frederick News-Post Online.

The coach, Brad Young, apparently violated a drug-, alcohol- and tobacco-free workplace and school system policy, schools spokeswoman Marita Loose told the news outlet earlier this week. Young says he didn't realize that his house counted as school property and that alcohol was not allowed. ...

GOOD. He deserved to be canned.Allowing alcohol at a team function is NOT acceptable.

Posted by: Alex511 | July 17, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm 73. When I was a boy (under the age of 7) I had an ounce of beer with my Dad who had a 16 oz. of beer as we had Sunday dinner. We lived in a German area of Naussau County in New York. One individual in our neighborhood had a German beer garden in his back yard. We kids were there (not drinking beer) as our moms and dads toasted to everything. I learned through that situation to drink responsibly.
End of story.

Posted by: diamond2 | July 17, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Allowing alcohol at a team function is NOT acceptable.

Posted by: Alex511 | July 17, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Why? (what good is your opinion if you don't tell us why you hold it?)

Posted by: 06902 | July 17, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

But, AB, "voluntary" vs. "coercion" doesn't explain it -- certainly, the beer here was voluntary brought, voluntarily drunk. I think the difference is that going to church is protected by the First Amendment, so the schools cannot take any punitive action against kids who go. Other voluntary actions, the school can make all the stupid rules it wants to (and they sure seem to be trying).

Also, as to: "I'm really wondering why a group of mothers would need to drink a glass of wine at a girl scout campout." Who says they "need" to? Maybe they want to (good Lord, I'd want to if I was camping with 10-20 girls!).

What I don't get is why we take it for granted that zero alcohol is a reasonable default position -- so that anyone who just wants to have a beer for whatever reason (a) is perceived as having a "problem" because they can't go without, and (b) is forced to justify wanting to do a plain, simple, natural thing that most humans have done throughout recorded history.

Posted by: laura33 | July 17, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I think you have to move yourself out of being so parent-centered. The rule is there to protect children as well.

Some estimate that as many as 1 in 8 adults have a problem with alcohol. No reason to think that parent of kids on sports teams are exempt.

If you ban alcohol then you reduce the chance that a parent will drink to excess -there- and kill him/her-self maybe others on the way home. You reduce the chance that a parent will drink to excess and do something that they shouldn't.

I don't think that people who are purely social drinkers can comprehend the kinds of things that people with alcohol problems will do, and do to children they come in contact with.

Think of it in terms of the child who has a parent with a problem who wouldn't go to the post-season party with Mom or Dad because they know all too well what will happen when they start drinking. You are giving that child a safe place to be.

Posted by: RedBird27 | July 17, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

"These zero tolerance policies of schools seems to have done little to change the nature of teenage drinking."

I couldn't disagree more strongly! The more "zero tolerance" alcohol policies we enact, the higher the incidence of binge drinking in teens. I can't cite the studies, but there are plenty of them that show the correlation and causality.

My cousins and I grew up in Europe and South America, where kids see their parents drink, where teenagers sometimes have a glass of wine with their parents at a special dinner, and none of us ever went in for the binge drinking, the drinking to get s-faced, that many American kids get into early. If anything, the effect that seeing adults use alcohol responsibly had was to minimize its allure. And the instances of having seen adults abuse alcohol served as cautionary tales. "Uncle Harry is a great guy, but last night he had too much to drink last night and made an [donkey] of himself."

It's like the stereotypical pastor's daughter, and I learned this first hand (the fun way). The only girl that I dated who I ever would classify as 'sex-crazed' was a minister's daughter. And I remember thinking at the time, and I remain convinced to this day, that her behavior in this arena was the result of being raised in such a Puritanical setting (where sex is dirty, nasty, and disgusting, so you're supposed to save it for the one you truely love).

So I wish Americans (of which I am one) would lighten up where alcohol is concerned. I understand the Puritanical origins and all that, but I classify the 'nobody should drink in front of the kids' mindset in roughly the same category as the hard core (I forget which sect exactly) evangenicals' 'no dancing' rules: under Kinda Ridiculous.

Posted by: TonyFo | July 17, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

You are giving that child a safe place to be.

Posted by: RedBird27 | July 17, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Do you go to dinner with other families only at restaurants that do not serve alcohol? Would you go to a major league sports event with another family or group of families?

If the coach had taken his team to a Nationals game and a parent had a beer would he have to be fired?

Posted by: 06902 | July 17, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Another dopey WP write decides to us "get this" in an article. All this does is marginalizing your writing by using a trite, trendy statement that is reserved for Fox News.

Posted by: ratsmoker | July 17, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Think for a moment about the poor child of the vindictive parent who tattled on the coach. She must be mortified that her mother did something so incredibly stupid (instead of trying to resolve whatever her issue was in a less public way). Or perhaps it's already rubbed off on the daughter, who now knows that if life doesn't go your way, find something minute to pick on and destroy the other person -- instead of taking responsibility for your own actions. Coach being mean to your kid? Find another team.
The topic of alcohol at a school sanctioned event (and a good lawyer could argue just as effectively that this wasn't) aside... We've found very drunk people at parties to be very helpful in demonstrating to our kids what happens when you drink too much.

Posted by: StrollerMomma | July 17, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I'm not a parent, but wow. How far can these oversensitive parents and school officials go? If I were this guy, I would sue, sue, sue. And I have to comment on the breastfeeding link. The last quote about how women don't usually breastfeed while police are conducting investigations. Come on! They should get over their embarrassment over the natural process of feeding a child. That is not a sign of bad mothering. Every year they find some new way to keep women down, and it's through these "bad mother" arrests. Screw that. I think every time a mother is arrested, the father should be too, as he is either not their to help parent, or contribute to basics like breastfeeding. Why does all this work, and resulting mistakes have to rest solely on the mother? Get the sperm donors involved!

Posted by: Robin213 | July 17, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

laura, if the question was about drinking communion wine during church, then yes, I agree that it's the First Amendment protection of religious services. "Zero tolerance" isn't quite "Absolute zero tolerance;" there are well-known exceptions for alcohol consumed as part of certain religious services. That's legal regardless of the age of the drinker. And if the student voluntarily takes part in a religious service as part of a school trip - e.g., goes to church on Sunday - then they can't stop that student from consuming, e.g., communion wine.

FWIW, I try very hard to model responsible drinking for my kids - there are alcoholics in the family, and I try to make it clear that there's a difference between "abuse of alcohol" and "responsible use of alcohol." I often keep beer in the refrigerator; a twelve-pack will usually last about two months if nobody comes over to watch a game. My 20 year old daughter and 18 year old son are allowed to go get a beer if they want, as long as they follow certain rules (e.g., no drinking if you're going anywhere in the next two hours; no more than two in a day). I'd let my 17 year old daughter drink, too, but she can't stand the taste of beer. (FWIW, it's legal in Maryland to give your own kids alcohol in your own house. NOT "somebody else's kids" and NOT "out in a restaurant", but your kids, your house.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 17, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Whacky:

"Which prompts me to ask out of curiosity, does anybody know if it's unlawful to light up at an outdoor school sporting event such as a football or softball game?"

Depends on where you are.

In Howard County, MD, yes it's illegal to use tobacco products (not just smoke, but smokeless tobacco, too) at any county park or school. So if you lit up there, you could be cited and fined.

(You wouldn't be "arrested"; it's too small an offense. I suspect that you'd first be informed of the rules and politely asked to extinguish your smoke. Then you'd be asked in a less polite tone. Then you'd get the citation. Committing other, more serious infractions such as verbally or physically assaulting the officer issuing the citation might raise the stakes, though.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 17, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm so glad I don't live in the US. Land of the free, my arse.

Posted by: kevrobb | July 17, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the government should ban all alcohol and tobacco products, since they are bad for you and contribute nothing to society. Government officials have a lot of knowledge about things that are bad for you and therefore should make these decisions.

Posted by: Socialistic | July 17, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm so glad I don't live in the US. Land of the free, my arse.

Posted by: kevrobb | July 17, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't think dumb beurocracy knows any political borders, but if some local school board overreach is keeping you out of the greatest country in the world, then really you don't deserve to be here...

Posted by: 06902 | July 17, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Official school event. No drinking allowed. Move on. Nothing to see here.

You can bet that everyone bloviating here about the idiocy of the district policy would be singing a different tune if one of the parents with a Blood Alcohol Count of .09 (easy with two beers in 90 minutes) accidentally killed someone else's kid on the way home. Then everyone, including grieving parents, would want to know why alcohol was served at a school event.

What else? Well, now that everyone is paying attention, I hope the coach petitions to get his job back and gets it, subject to some counseling, training, review of the rules, or such.

Posted by: blaneyboy | July 17, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I find it ridiculous that coaches who are mostly paid less than minimum wage for the countless hours they put in, get reprimanded for actions of the parents (which I don't find that was even out of control, obviously wasn't a kegger as the policy rose from!)

Most public school coaches are given only given the rules from the MPSSAA or county, and this is not covered anywhere in there. I never had to sign anything from the board and if I was expected to abide by every rule there...I would hope that someone told me!

Considering the small pay, small budget and the limited number of coaches that care to go out of their way to even DO an after season party - he should be commended instead of fired. HE didn't drink and neither did the girls. As far as I'm concerned, he exceeded his job requirements and deserves an award!

Posted by: vballcoach | July 17, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

There are rules and he should have known... but firing him and banning him from coaching for 3 years??? Come on... as far as I read this is the kind of guy you want to keep around. Zero-tolerance on drugs on school grounds and school sanctioned events are ok, but he shouldn't be punished this extreme for it. Ban him at most for 1 year... as far as I can see use him as an example that even the smallest mistakes won't go unpunished but make sure that you don't alienate good honest people who you want to be there as teachers to our children.

Posted by: DethBlosm | July 17, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

This is a perception problem. "Hey how was the party? great, John's dad sure likes beer he drank one real fast. There was DRINKING at the party?( NOT a few parents drank a beer, but now it has turned into a DRINKING party) um i guess. Jim did you know that there were parents drinking beer? I can't believe IT, I am calling the principal!!"

all common sense out the window.....

I

Posted by: pwaa | July 17, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like we had some schoolyard bullies who got frustrated that they couldn't strip search little girls for aspirin any more and took it out on the coach.

So how many folks want to pass the next millage issue when this school system wants more money?

Posted by: colonelpanic | July 17, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Blaneyboy is right, if someone got into a car accident after this event the school officials would be the one's with their feet in the fire.
But the punishment was still too harsh, give the guy his job back and put him on coaching probabtion for a year. There was no intentional wrongdoing here, just miscommunication about the what rules needed to be followed in this particular situation. The officials are overreacting.

Posted by: pinkoleander | July 17, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Well as for the issue of communion wine--if it is a Roman Catholic church, it isn't wine, it is the Blood of Christ. So unless your school has a zero tolerance policy about the consumption of the Blood of Christ during school sanctioned trips, I think that partaking in the Eucharist would be acceptable. Now if it were one of those denominations where the Blood is present concurrently with the wine, then you might have a problem. But in the RC church, the wine is changed into the blood by the priest before congregants partake of it. So I don't see any problem there.

Posted by: janedoe5 | July 17, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the government should ban all alcohol and tobacco products, since they are bad for you and contribute nothing to society. Government officials have a lot of knowledge about things that are bad for you and therefore should make these decisions.

Posted by: Socialistic | July 17, 2009 1:51 PM |

NO we couldn't do that? Who would we overtax and pretend are the scourge of society so the rest of us can feel better??

As for the 'it is the blood of christ' stuff. Um, what? I've heard that before, and well, unless you ARE RC - you don't believe it. And so then aren't you going to go to the school board to convince them of that? Who would win?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | July 17, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

fr strollermomma:

>Think for a moment about the poor child of the vindictive parent who tattled on the coach. She must be mortified that her mother did something so incredibly stupid (instead of trying to resolve whatever her issue was in a less public way). ...

The parent did NOT "tattle" on anyone, and I imagine the daughter is proud of her mother for standing up for what is RIGHT. Mom did not do anything "incredibly stupid", either.

Grow UP and get a life. Bringing alcohol to a function where there are minors, ESPECIALLY a school function, is completely and incredibly STUPID.

Posted by: Alex511 | July 18, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Nearly all government officials should be marched out into the street and dealt with.

Posted by: bug45 | July 18, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

This one is easy. It was an official school event, so no booze. And I speak as someone with a nice glass of rosé at hand while my twins are falling asleep as I type. Had this been an informal parents event, no problem. It wasn't.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 19, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

If his home was school property, that also means he was probably guilty of 1) having Tylenol, cough syrup and other "illegal" medical supplies on school property. Let's hope he didn't dispense a BandAid or Alka Seltzer to anyone: 2) having pornography on school property, if he had an "R" rated movie; and 3) inappropriate and illegal display of religious symbols, if he any were visible in his house/school.

Posted by: sannhet | July 20, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Suppose the coach had asked the team and parents to go to a local restaurant to celebrate and some parents ordered drinks from the bar? The problem with policies like this lies with the person interpreting the policy and how they interpret it.

Posted by: alexanderlawrence2003 | July 23, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

We are so uptight in this country about alcohol, it's ridiculous. Don't bother demonizing the Taliban anymore, look no further than our own backyard for evidence that our rights are being trampled into oblivion.

Assuming that this actually was a party attended by responsible adults and that each imbibing adult drank responsibly and that no one drove under the influence, I think an ounce of common sense was called for. Wait, but we're not capable of common sense anymore, we're so wrapped up in political correctness that nobody can think for him or herself anymore. THINK, parents drinking responsibly in front of their kids sets a good example. Here we could learn a thing or two from European drinking laws.

I think it is a sad day when such a well respected educator can be so easily dismissed. He is the kind of person we think of when we remember our favorite teachers.

Posted by: pushkari | July 23, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

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