Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / February 2, 2000

Last year, I wrote a very complimentary article about Riverside Academy.

I was excited that the Riverside PTO had decided to send a questionnaire to the parents asking if they were in favor of selling alcohol at the school’s annual fund-raising bazaar, or against it. A majority of theparents voted against the sale of all alcoholic beverages at last year’s event.

I have to admit I was surprised that the PTO took such a stand. I wasexcited for the school, especially for the message it would send to its students. Many people not associated with the school were impressed bythis action. Some people that I spoke to from St. Peter, St. Joan of Arc,and Ascension of Our Lord made this statement: “We should be ashamed that we let Riverside take the lead in setting an example for our children.”Were all the parents at Riverside supportive of the PTO’s action? No. Infact, I understand that many people boycotted the bazaar. As a result, I’mnot positive, but I understand the profits last year were a little short of previous years.

Last week, I was asked to speak to the Riverside Academy’s sixth, seventh and eighth grade boys and girls. I shared with the girls one day and theboys the next. The sessions were really good, not because I conductedthem, but because of the honesty of the children. We covered some prettydeep subjects – from drugs to sex responbility and family relationships.

During the boys’ session, I mentioned last year’s bazaar with no booze. Iwas then told this year the PTO has changed its policy! Alcohol will be sold while the bands play from 7 to 11 p.m. How ridiculous! It is also myunderstanding that no questionnaire was sent out this year. Thecompromising board made this decision on their own. What convictions!It’s no wonder that our kids laugh at us when we want to discuss the drug problem.

If some of you think this article is to embarrass the people at Riverside Academy, believe me, it’s not. I have the utmost respect for principalBarry Heltz. I just think we have to give credit where credit is due.Last year, I said “bravo!” for the PTO at Riverside. This year, I say shameto you for acting like jellyfish. Keep in mind that you may make moremoney this year (I hope not), but the big losers are your children.

HAROLD KELLER is affiliated with the Get High on Life religious motivational group.

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