Page 1

the

sober truth an investigation into the school’s drinking culture, pages 12-14

photo by Riley Breaux

Eagle Edition • Episcopal School of Dallas • Oct. 26, 2018 • Vol. 36 • Issue 2

17

Plastic bans prompt debate on overreaching regulations, effectiveness

23 sports

Classic Halloween movies provide wholesome entertainment

views

7 life

INSIDE

3 news

A LOOK

Senior Karenna Traylor raises money for diabetes research

Freshman Weston Hargrave joins squad as second-ever male cheerleader


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center spread

Eagle Edition | Oct. 26, 2018

|DRINKING DILEMMA_/ D

OWN. UP. DOWN. The 14- and 15-year-olds were headed to a college football game that afternoon and had decided to get tipsy before Ubering there in order to heighten their experience. “Once I’d sobered up that night at around 12 a.m., I tried to remember what happened at the game, but my mind drew a blank,” senior Naomi Spence* said. “I woke up with chunks of vomit in my hair and the worst feeling in my stomach I’ve ever felt.” ••• he only way pence could find out the events from earlier that day was to ask her friends, who showed her videos of them riding in an ambulance to the medic while she was driven behind them in a golf cart. I ve never felt more ashamed in my life, she said. I can t remotely picture what my surroundings looked like. hey told me about how I vomited in the ber and was slurring e cuses to the security guards and o cers who came by when they saw me falling down. lthough her alcohol poisoning was evident to the o cers policing the event, pence fought to convince them otherwise. hen I was at the medic, it literally took every ounce of my being to ust send a single te t, she said. o her surprise, her mom didn t yell. Instead, she told her daughter how this wasn t like her how could this happen, and why he risks of e cessive drinking may sound melodramatic to some, but there are more long term effects than getting a stomach pumped or being arrested for underage consumption something the o cers that day were generous enough to not do, although pence admits they had enough reason to. hy would I, a kid whose parents worked so hard to send me to a private school, risk throwing away my whole future pence said.

Now I feel so stupid thinking about how much effort we put into nights we d barely even remember, pence said. aking up the ne t day was always the worst part there was always a horrible feeling in your stomach while you cleaned up messes that you didn t remember making and tried to do your homework with a brain that felt like mush. lthough sophomore mmett raham recogni es that certain students may have an alcohol dependence, he doesn t view drinking as a school wide issue. I maybe drink every weekend with my friends, he said. It s normal. lot of high schoolers across the nation are [shown] to drink through social media and movies. It s . It s ust a way to rela after all the stress with school. ight now, it s an out of school thing, so I don t know if it s that big of a deal. unior imitri Nolan agrees with raham in that he doesn t view the school s drinking culture as anything out of the ordinary. It s controlled, Nolan said. eople aren t really stupid about it they don t go out and drink in public. It s always [in] a protected space. r. avid tkinson, medical director of een ecovery rogram ervices at Children s ealth, is an associate professor of psychiatry at outhwestern edical Center. s a specialist in adolescent substance use in the area, he doesn t attribute these numbers to ust the high school e perience.

I FEEL SO STUPID THINKING ABOUT HOW MUCH EFFORT WE PUT INTO NIGHTS WE’D BARELY REMEMBER. WAKING UP THE NEXT DAY WAS ALWAYS THE WORST PART.

SENIOR NAOMI SPENCE*

GRAPHIC BY | SUMNER WOOLDRIDGE

THE CULTURE ccording to an ct. poll of pper chool students, percent have drank before. f that percent, percent started drinking their freshman year or earlier. pence is one of that percent, having had her first drink at her friend s th birthday party. rom there, it escalated to drinking hard really uickly, she said. t first, I was a lightweight, but once I began to drink more, I drank so much that I felt like nothing could get me drunk. In the time between anuary and pril of her sophomore year, pence reports drinking almost every weekend, her group s go to being vedka and beer. fter si weekends in a row of getting wasted, my aturdays started to blur together, she said. ne time, my friends and I were so desperate to drink that we actually smuggled alcohol into a restaurant. he girls snuck atorade and arka water bottles filled with vodka from her friend s car, whose trunk was packed with oversi ed bottles of li uor, carefully covered by their sleepover bags in case they got pulled over.

“PREPARING FOR COLLEGE” enior arcy hodes started drinking her first semester of high school and sees it as essential preparation for college. If you go into college and you haven t drank any, college is like high school but even more cra y, she said. ou re going to try to catch up to everyone and be on their level. If you re a lightweight and two beers gets you drunk you re screwed. Nolan agrees. If you go to college with no e perience, it s not a good idea because it could lead you to umping into things too uickly, he said. has a really good community. verybody knows each other really well, so they know they re safe. long with percent of the student body, hodes views drinking as a learning e perience, with high school being the ideal environment to make mistakes before college. College can be a dangerous environment with new people and [se ual] predators, whereas is a smaller community and you have your friends, she said. If I m really bad at some party, I m confident I ll be . If you re like that in college, you can be in a lot riskier situation. tkinson advises against this strategy. It s a silly idea, he said. e know that the person who drinks early in adolescence tends to have a lot more problems with their drinking in college than the adolescent who drinks less in high school. lot of kids that drink heavily end up with this false assumption that it s safe for them. hey can t see the inner workings, the inner subtleties to their brain that are piling up, use after use. tkinson sees the sometimes delayed, yet very real, conse uences of underage drinking as a metaphor.


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BY | ANASTASIA SOTIROPOULOS young person doesn t drive their car very well, abuses it, hammers their transmission and says nothing has happened until it breaks, he said. ou don t see these subtle damages done over time until it gets to be really bad. ome argue that the illegality of drinking contributes to the thrill and thus prevalence of it, but tkinson doesn t see this as a primary factor. It s something else in the culture, he said. In Italy, they have the same laws. eople drink heavily but do not get to the point where they are completely obliterated and sloppy. ou don t see people staggering down the streets that seems to be some kind of distinctly merican attitude that this is something you have to do. s someone who drank e cessively for half of high school, pence disagrees with ustifying high school drinking as college preparation. If you re drinking because you need prep for college, you are using that as an e cuse, she said. lum orraine ills , who began drinking her unior year and currently attends college as a freshman, describes the college drinking environment as different from what her and her peers had anticipated. drinking culture is falling on the ground, throwing up on the floor, ills said. In college, you can t do that because no one wants to take care of you. ou don t have those close knit friendships you did in high school. Compared to her high school friends, ills was a very light drinker, but she was surprised by her results on an lcohol du survey administered by her college in second semester of her senior year. ccording to the uestionnaire, in the past two weeks, she had drank percent more than others who took the test. In the private school bubble, hard drinking is normal, she said. o know that I am a heavy drinker according to the site was shocking. enior year, we had something every single weekend Friday and aturday. e started to party on school nights, compared to other schools that only party [as hard] once every two or three weeks. ou have to be conscious in college to not go as hard as you did in high school. e have to learn our limits.

survey that the school s social atmosphere promotes e cessive drinking. I know a lot of schools come to our parties and are thrown off because we re e cessive, unior eremy gden said. [ he culture] should change, but I don t think it can. ou kind of go through high school with this big theme of drinking around you, and that s really hard to have all four grades change their perspective. It gets passed down. e ve heard it all before. ince calendars plastered in the ower chool nurse s o ce with illustrations reminding to ust say no, students have been warned against the dangers of alcohol from an early age. ut according to tkinson, the effects of alcohol abuse in teens e tend beyond what we ve been taught. It s not plain killing brain cells, he said. hat makes the brain really comple and ama ing is how well connected the cells are to each other. e have seen in a recent study that, after si years of drinking, you do see a difference in how connected these brain areas are. his study reported poor attention spans in kids who drink. or someone that young who starts drinking, the brain is trained easier to getting addicted, tkinson said. he brain is trying to learn things in adolescent years, but that means you can learn addictive behaviors as well. ou have a brain that s primed to learn. tkinson also reports changes in the cognitive ability of adolescents who drink. It s very di cult to say what changes are going to be permanent and what changes are not, he said. treme drinking will put a lot of stress on the brain during the adolescent years and causes it to age uicker o idative stress. It s like putting very rough miles on a car. ut what ualifies as e treme inge drinking e uates to over five drinks in one sitting for males and over four for females. treme binge drinking is more than ten drinks in one sitting. he amount of alcohol that it takes to damage the body is probably less than most people would assume, tkinson said. or instance, women who drink more than four drinks a week have an increased [chance of] breast cancer. lcohol in high doses is to ic to memory. he effects of drinking are amplified for developing bodies blackouts included. f students who have drank before, percent have passed out or e perienced a blackout at least once and percent more than once, according to the Eagle Edition survey on ct. . eenagers need to know that blacking out is not normal, tkinson said. If someone has blacked out more than once in their adolescence, it s likely they have a problem with their alcohol use. ost teenagers three fourths do not drink to blackout. ut for the few that do, their hippocampus, at least on memory, has been knocked unconscious. hat s a sign that there is some to ic damage being done to the brain.

DR. DAVID ATKINSON

Considering that two thirds of students who drink have drank with the intention to get drunk, unior rayson Connell believes that an unhealthy culture has developed. here is that atmosphere that you drink to get drunk you don t drink because you like the taste, Connell said. It s cultivated with huge parties. ccording to a reedom from Chemical ependency survey of th to th graders, although percent of students think their peers find it cool to get drunk, only nine percent actually do, illustrating a discrepancy between students perception of the norm and the reality. ay you don t go to a party, freshman everly ingston said. he impression of that party is that everyone was blackout drunk, when it was only like three people. s for perception among the student body, percent of th graders reported in a C

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those interviewed.

I DG NER WO OLD R SUM

ESD STUDENTS HAVE DRANK A FULL SERVING OF ALCOHOL BEFORE

THE HEALTH EFFECTS

A LOT OF KIDS THAT DRINK HEAVILY END UP WITH THIS FALSE ASSUMPTION THAT IT’S SAFE FOR THEM. THEY CAN’T SEE THE INNER WORKINGS.

PREVALENCE: PERCEPTION VS. REALITY

2 in 3

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Teenage drinking among student body poses concern, administration takes steps to curb the issue

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Eagle Edition | Oct. 26, 2018

30 1 in 3

stats are according to an Oct. 18 poll of 240 students

PERCENT OF STUDENTS HAVE FELT A PRESSURE TO DRINK BEFORE

14

STUDENTS WHO DRINK DRINK AT LEAST ONCE PERCENT OF STUDENTS HAVE A FAKE ID A WEEK

53 30

44

PERCENT OF STUDENTS PARTY AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH PERCENT OF STUDENTS PARTY AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK

PERCENT OF STUDENTS WHO DRINK HAVE PASSED/BLACKED OUT BEFORE

5 IN 6 67 STUDENTS WHO DRINK HAVE BEEN DRUNK BEFORE

1 6

T OF PERCEN DERS A 11TH GR ’S T THINK I NGE I OK TO B DRINK*

ing to *accord

a 2018

PERCENT OF STUDENTS WHO DRINK HAVE

DRANK WITH THE INTENTION TO GET DRUNK

ders

ra h-11th g t 9 f o y ve FCD sur

GRAPHIC BY | SUMNER WOOLDRIDGE


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Eagle Edition | Oct. 26, 2018

THE TEENAGE PSYCHOLOGY lcohol s effects span beyond the physical, causing mood swings and aggravating mental health issues like depression and an iety. ne of the first things that happens with heavy drinking is it activates a sense of urgency, tkinson said. eople that have been using a lot tend to be less patient, more focused on rewards in the here and now and less focused on the future. ut hodes sees drinking as more of a bonding e perience. [ rinking] brings people together, no matter who you are, she said. It makes you more bold and confident when you may not be. If there weren t parties, people would always hang out in small groups of ust ten people. t parties, there s like people it created a community. o tkinson, ust like pulling out a phone during an awkward situation, teens use alcohol as a crutch against awkwardness. lcohol robs us of the opportunity of a culture of authentic human connection, tkinson said. It s hard for somebody totally sober to really, truly connect with somebody who is totally hammered. hirty percent of students have felt pressured to drink in some way, with nine percent of them attributing it to not being able to have fun at a party where everyone else is drunk. or a few months after pence s scare at the game, she was too scared to drink more than a few sips. ut sober for the past months, she wants to keep it that way until she s . Now when I go to parties, I m the sober one, she said. I used to hate it, but now I love the feeling of knowing I didn t do something embarrassing without remembering. pence regrets her past decisions. I wish I d never started, she said. ven when I wasn t drinking, alcohol clouded my udgment because I would do things I never would ve done before ust to drink it. I m so mad at myself for actually changing the way my family looked at me ust to forget my problems for one hour. If you drink to forget your problems, you re going to wake up with more of them.

their teens of possible fun, tkinson says they end up demoting the importance of learning how to work through struggles and connect on deeper levels. ppro imately percent of students who drink report that their parents are aware, and of parents whose teens drink, percent of them are not opposed to their teen s drinking. arents won t come downstairs and be supporting it, freshman alerie u said. hey pretend to be unaware of it.

LOOKING FORWARD ince pril , the pper and iddle chool has brought C speakers five times. he former substance abusers educate students on the risks involved with drug and alcohol use. ead of pper School enry eil remembers similar speakers visiting his middle school. I vividly remember it was very much scare tactics, which for a middle schooler is somewhat impactful, eil said. ut we all know that fear is really short lived. ith percent of students reporting that the speakers did not influence their decision of whether to drink, senior loyd obins believes that their message for upperclassmen needs to continue to look to the future. s we go on, especially senior year, their message should shift from what it was to preparing us for what s coming in college, obins said. ackling the issue in a new way, eil held a live webcast for parents on ct. to discuss the issue with parents. ighty one parents signed up and could ask uestions anonymously. I don t want anyone to feel like, parents and students included, that drinking is bad that it s evil, eil said. e don t want to e uate drinking alcohol with being a bad person. It s an opportunity to educate.

WE DON’T WANT TO EQUATE DRINKING ALCOHOL WITH BEING A BAD PERSON. IT’S AN OPPORTUNITY TO EDUCATE.

ost of pence s parties took place at a friend s house whose parents were often gone on the weekends. er dad was aware of what we were doing while he was out of the house and sometimes left us stuff for when he d be gone for periods of time, she said. ccessibility to alcohol financially can play a role, but to tkinson, that s not the main issue. lcohol is not that e pensive compared to other drugs it s the lack of parental concern, he said. here is a strong fear of disappointing their kid. hey want to make sure that their house can host the party, that their kids have the ma imal, ama ing high school e perience. ut to hodes, parents are an integral part of the learning e perience that comes with drinking. In high school, you have your parents, so if you re in a bad situation, you can talk to them and they can help guide you through it, she said. ou want to learn and prepare because you re going to have to start sooner or later. lthough parents don t want to rob

WHAT GRADE DID YOU START

8TH

9TH

DRINKING?

STUDENTS WHO DRINK HAVE BEEN TOLD THEY MAY HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ALCOHOL OR THOUGHT THEY MAY HAVE BEFORE

5 IN 6

1 in 10

STUDENTS BELIEVE THAT EITHER OUR SCHOOL HAS AN UNHEALTHY DRINKING CULTURE OR THAT AT LEAST SOME STUDENTS DO

PARENT ACCESSIBILITY STUDENTS WHO DRINK

1 in 3

HENRY HEIL, HEAD OF UPPER SCHOOL

ACCESSIBILITY

11TH 12TH

10TH

REPORT THAT THEIR PARENTS SUPPORT IT

3 in 4 1 in 4

STUDENTS WHO DRINK REPORT THAT THEIR PARENTS ARE AWARE

STUDENTS WHO DRINK HAVE BEEN SUPPLIED WITH ALCOHOL BY THEIR PARENTS BEFORE according to an Oct. 18 poll of 240 students

93

PERCENT OF HIGH-RISK DRINKERS BELIEVE THAT STUDENTS CAN MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS ABOUT DRINKING

80+

PERCENT OF STUDENTS THINK IT’S EASY TO FIT IN WITHOUT DRINKING photo by Riley Breaux

according to a 2018 FCD survey of 9th-11th graders

Drinking culture center spread  

In November 2018, the National Press Association ranked the drinking culture issue (for which I served as Editor-in-Chief, wrote and designe...

Drinking culture center spread  

In November 2018, the National Press Association ranked the drinking culture issue (for which I served as Editor-in-Chief, wrote and designe...

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