Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hate mail from beyond the grave

A Kimberly High School student didn't like the Under 30 column that I wrote about drug testing at her school, so she wrote a guest commentary about it. She did a good job with the letter, though if you read my original column I think you'll agree she missed the point of what I was trying to say. http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060921/APC/60921029/1029

The generalizations that Steven Hyden outlined in his Sept. 21 article "Kids, do as we say, not as we do when it comes to drinking," are untrue. Many references to my high school in this article are incorrect.

First, for Mr. Hyden to say that he's glad he isn't a student at Kimberly High School generally condemns the school as a worthless institution with no positive effect.

Yes, there is drinking and, no, it isn't the first time that young adults have chosen to abuse drugs and alcohol. But to write that Operation Clean and any attempt to fix the current situation are useless is ridiculous.

Operation Clean is an effort to do something about underage drinking and drug use. The Kimberly school district has boldly chosen to take action against what it believes is wrong.

This choice has not come without a price. Kimberly's decision to drug-test and now possibly administer breathalyzers has been tossed around in the media, twisted and contorted in print and on screen, so much that Operation Clean is viewed as nothing but punishment for those who choose to abuse illegal substances.

If a student at Kimberly High School tests positive for drugs or alcohol, the school district is committed to doing everything it can to help that individual understand how what he or she did was wrong and make the necessary changes for the future.

To judge the teachers who administer breathalyzers as "prosecutorial" is false and stereotypical.

When Mr. Hyden wrote that the Promise Maker program should be called "Your Promise Making, While Appreciated, Isn't Good Enough," I was outraged. Becoming a Promise Maker is a personal decision; it's an act of strength and integrity.

A Promise Maker's promise is good enough because that person is proving to himself or herself that he or she can resist the temptation to use drugs or alcohol, and that he or she isn't alone in that choice.

Dan Slowey, the coordinator of the Promise Maker program, cares more for the students at Kimberly High School than anyone can imagine. He and many other members of the faculty at Kimberly High School want to see us succeed.

That's what all the articles and stories about drug testing and breathalyzers have failed to recognize. Contrary to what Mr. Hyden speculated, the Kimberly school district doesn't seek to isolate students who choose to do drugs or drink. Instead, it wishes to stop the wrong behavior and find ways to change it.

I agree with Mr. Hyden's point about the influence of our elders. Drinking is everywhere. The problem is not that adults in our life drink, but that many don't teach the responsibility that must come with legally consuming alcohol.

Mr. Hyden's simplification of drinking as a "gateway to adulthood, the one thing every kid wants," is far too general.

Many students at Kimberly high school don't use and have just as much fun while they are completely sober. Grouping the entire Kimberly High School student body into one big drinking clan is not only offensive, it's wrong.

Operation Clean may not have all the answers, but saying that the program makes absolutely no difference in our community undermines the people who have worked hard to make it go and all of the students who have made the difficult choice to remain drug- and alcohol-free.


This commentary inspired another Valley resident to write me hate mail from beyond the grave. This woman DEFINITELY has a crush on me.

I enjoyed your well written article in response to Mr. Hyden's comments on Kimberly High School's Operation Clean. I think that Hyden has long been a sarcastic, jeering writer who has looked his nose down on the actions of this community. Now that he has headed for greener hills in Milwaukee, much to his obvious relief (and most of ours), I hope that we can get more writers in who will look at situations like this one with less jaded eyes. It is the hope that the students at KHS
will get help if they need it.

Kudos to you for sticking up for Dan Slowey, you obviously know about the situation and these people more than Mr. Hyden cared to find out about. I hope that the Fox Cities can retain that small city atmosphere, where people, and some reporters will try to find out about the other side. I don't think Hyden was that type of writer. Actually, I think he spent most of his time driving around the Valley seeing what he could mock. I am sure he will have his hands full in Milwaukee.


Again, completely misses the point of what I was trying to say. But hey, if these people think drug users and drinkers will knowingly walk into a stituation where they will be tested, then I wish them a nice stay in Delusionland.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Olson said...

The more time I spend living outside the Fox Cities the more I realize how isolated and complacent a lot of the people there are. I feel Steve, you were perhaps one of the few that provided a dissenting view to those people.

They will suffer in your absence.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:35 PM  
Anonymous cheddar said...

Who the frick and frack are these anonymous a-holes?

11:24 AM  
Anonymous mwr said...

puke. i hope they don't get someone who just tows their stupid line.

around here,... people need to wake up and stop trying to hide what life is actually about, what's real and what's just some random fear of living... barf.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous gavin said...

Kimberly = suck. If a student prefers to go to class in a Nazi environment rather than a school, that's her problem. But also, she's stupid.

Saying a policy is stupid doesn't mean the school is an inherently bad palce. Dumb student. Dumb stinky student. I point at her and say "you are dumb".

1:36 AM  

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