The latest trend to hit high schools is supervised teenage gambling at the Post Prom School Party. Over the past few months I have received numerous emails from parents, students and school faculty expressing concern about the new alternative entertainment. In all cases these people believe it would do more harm then good.
The concept became reality for students once the Post Prom Committee voted to accept this new alternative entertainment.
This Post Prom Committee believes this is safe night party for the High School prom. The students who are taking part are between the ages of sixteen and eighteen years old. Each student is able to purchase fake money to gamble with and at the end of the night they can trade this money in for prizes with at the end of the night. Some parents believe this is a safe wonderful event for their children. While others believe this is one area they prefer their kids not be involved with.
One of the emails I received was from a family who home schools their five children. I was surprised since their kids were not involved. She had explained to me that her daughter who is seventeen has friends who attend the public school system. She went on to tell me the negative behavior exhibited by these teens after the event took place. In fact they taught her daughter how to play black jack and poker. This is a good neighborhood that has strong community ties. She also informed me that she not see the difference between using fake money or real money when you still have a chance to win a prize that has value. She believes these teens are being educated on how to gamble, win and take the easy way out.
People in favor of this gambling event, nicely told those who were against it to have their teenager’s stay home. It was my understanding the post prom parties were supposed to be for everyone.
It surprised me that a school district finds gambling night an acceptable behavior for our teenagers.
I have seen first hand the self destruction gambling can do to teenagers and adults. It’s my belief that gambling should be limited to people who are eighteen and over.
Another email was asking me for the specific statistics on the negative impact on a teenager’s who attend a gambling event. General statistics reflect a percentage of those in attendance will develop a compulsive gambling addiction. Some of these same students may become addicted at some point in their life. I have found that addictions to gambling are not age sensitive. People of any age who are gambling for the very first time can develop a gambling addiction. Usually a friend or family member takes them to the gambling establishment. I first found it difficult to understand how a person who is sixty five retired and on a fixed income gets addicted to gambling. The seniors I spoke with were very upset and didn’t understand how this happened to them. The unfortunate part is they lost their pensions and now only have their Social Security to live on. In one case the Grandmother has to move in with her daughter.
There is very little difference between supervised gambling and allowing supervised drinking alcoholic beverages or serving the students there choice of dugs on a silver platter. If a Principal served a student an alcoholic drink he would be arrested. I am trying to understand how school educators and parents can distinguish between alcohol and gambling on school property. How is one more acceptable then the other?
Studies have shown that there is a correlation between alcohol addiction and gambling addiction. The correlation was based on individuals who attend both Gamblers Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
It would be a shame to find out ten years from now that students who took part in supervised gambling at the High School level their future was compromised by a life of self destruction and low self esteem.
It’s a proven statistics that students who gamble get a similar rush as if they just had an alcoholic beverage. The only difference here they will not wake up with a hang over and the side effects are minimal until it’s too late.
We have now given our students another option in life. The major concern is the student’s will probably like the rush from gambling a lot more then alcohol and or drugs since there is no hang over or smell. Some students are likely to continue gambling. Students with A grades are not exempt from this. Statistics show that compulsive teenage gamblers are also very bright and articulate individuals.
People need to be educated on teenage gambling and its long term affects. It’s illegal to gamble if you are under 18. It’s also illegal to drink if you are under 18 (some places 21) and it’s illegal to smoke cigarettes if you are under 18. These laws were set for a reason. Another email I received wanted to know do these school systems have any respect for the Law?
I emailed each of the people and asked why haven’t they raised their concerns to the school board? They all responded the same. “We are the minority and now we look bad in front of our kids.” This is truly a no win situation.
The parents who are against this sort of entertainment believe; if just one student develops a compulsive gambling addiction that is one too many.
For more information on Stop Teenage Gambling Website [http://www.teenage-gambling-addiction.org] and I Stopped Gambling So Can You http://www.istoppedgambling.com/.