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Just say no

February 1, 2010

We received our annual newsletter on AJ’s school’s drug prevention program called “The Pr3venti0n C0nn3cti0n.” I am not in any way opposed to the message “drugs are bad” getting out there early and often, but this newsletter is pure comedy gold and I look forward to it every year. Why? Because the evils of drug use and abuse are reinforced through the use of puppets and cartoons. Here are some examples, straight from the newsletter, of key segments in the third grade curriculum:

•[Students] listen to a puppet called Foxy tell them about ways to stay out of trouble. Foxy is a hand puppet who not only introduces the lessons but also is featured in videos and on work sheets and posters.

• Monica the monkey teaches her brother Manny about staying away from alcohol in an animated cartoon developed specifically for the curriculum. Luckily, King the orangutan sings a song that teaches Monica – and the class – all about alcohol.

• Foxy and a cat named Pinto tell students the story about an alcoholic family, and they learn that they can’t control alcoholism, they can’t cure it, they can take care of themselves, and things can get better.

• They listen to the song, “Express Yourself!” and, in teams, express feelings like happiness, embarrassment, and excitement in an original dance.

I’m thinking they should expand this series to cover other dangers in life. How about Davy the dung beetle teaching his sister Doris about the potential dangers of fecal fetishism? Or Sadie the spider and Frank the fly talking about the importance of safe words and mutual consent in B&D scenarios? And do I even need to mention how you could use all those rabbit hand puppets?

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go express my befuddlement at elementary education in an original dance. No, you can’t watch.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. The Lass permalink
    February 1, 2010 1:09 pm

    Good lord.

  2. freshhell permalink
    February 1, 2010 1:32 pm

    You just better be glad Dusty’s not in your house today because her camera takes videos and she’s merciless. You might become a UTube celebrity. Which is probably not something you want to add to your CV.

  3. crankygirl permalink
    February 1, 2010 2:45 pm

    I would love to see how that would go over in a more urban environment. Take Foxy to Hyde Park and see how she fares. Poor dead Foxy–it was an OD.

  4. February 1, 2010 2:45 pm

    After years of this kind of nonsense, you get teenagers who suspect that drugs aren’t as bad as they’ve been told all their lives. My major teaching tool at this point is Heath Ledger–“what’s the danger of drugs, kids? Even if they’re legal–and certainly if they’re illegal–you can overdose.”

  5. February 1, 2010 2:51 pm

    Yes, the public school system introduced my kids to drugs too. Up until then I had only pushed the “don’t take medicine that isn’t your’s, and only take it like the Dr. tells you to”, but the school system introduced the idea that you might WANT to try “medicines” because they might produce interesting or fun results. Jeanne has the idea. I’m already trying to introduce moderation as the key- they’ve both tasted beer and wine already and I’ll let them continue to have tastes of new things as they grow up. All that without the help of Foxy too.

  6. DJ/Diamond permalink
    February 1, 2010 3:06 pm

    Yeah, that’s awesome. Reminds me of “Sexual Harrassment Panda” on South Park.

  7. February 1, 2010 4:27 pm

    There are some things children are better off not being aware of, in my opinion. They are great experimenters, and if they know about the dangers of alcohol abuse, they are probably going to check it out. Remember that line from Twisted: “I heard little children were supposed to sleep tight, that’s why I drank a fifth of vodka one night…”

  8. February 1, 2010 9:57 pm

    But now I really want to see that dance.

  9. February 1, 2010 11:48 pm

    Lass, that about sums it up. Freshhell, I’m pretty sure it would break her camera. Cranky, I’m sure you are right. Certainly by the third grade, anyway. Jeanne, that sounds like a much more practical approach. Jill, I like that approach too. It’s one I grew up with and I think it was at least partly responsible for me not caring much about drinking when I was a teen. Which is not to say I never did it, but I didn’t do it much and I was careful about it. Eleanor, I go back and forth about that. On the one hand, I don’t really want my kid to know about drugs and junkies and drunks. On the other hand, if someone offers him drugs or if he’s at someone’s house and one of the parents is drunk, I want him to know what to do. But as far as I can tell, the puppets are counterproductive. They all seem to think they’re pretty stupid. Julia, I’m sorry, but I could not, in good conscience, subject you to that.

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