Saturday, March 14, 2009

Never Ask a Question...

if you don't already know the answer. That's a fundamental piece of courtroom wisdom--you simply don't put a witness on the stand and go fishing, because when he answers, the judge and jury and opposing counsel are going to hear that answer, too...and it just might be a grenade.

Of course, there are times when this rule must be disregarded, but they're few and far between. I'm thinking that a middle school drunk driving lesson might NOT be one of those exceptions.

Earlier this week, my thirteen-year-old daughter's health class conducted an "experiment" in drunk driving. In order to simulate the effects of alcohol, they were asked to spin, fast, for a prescribed period of time. Each child was asked to perform the walk and turn test before spinning and then immediately after. They were scored on ability to stay on the line, consistently touching heel to toe, and speed. The lesson could have sent a strong message, but in our case, it didn't work out so well.

You see, once upon a time my daughter was a ballerina. Even before that, she was surefooted as a little mountain goat--at ten months she could stumble and catch her balance and keep walking. The heel-to-toe-straight-line thing was just no big deal for her...straight or "drunk". Zero errors, same speed.

Fortunately, my daughter has pretty good sense. When I pointed out that the fact that she was able to perform that test after spinning definitely DIDN'T mean that she wouldn't be impaired by alcohol, and certainly not that it would be safe to drive, she said: "Well, duh." And I think she meant it.

But you know...this seems like the kind of experiment where you might want to know the results BEFORE you start demonstrating stuff to the kids.

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