After Smoking At School



Having read through what I have written below I feel I should apologise a bit that this is less a post about smoking in particular and more a celebration of the fact that my daughter is growing up and blossoming in a way that is very pleasing to myself and Cassie and makes us proud.

This is a follow up to my post “Smoking at School” in which my daughter found herself leading a student campaign to retain their right to smoke in designated areas of the school grounds; something which had been normal here ever since the days when I myself was a school student. Rather than repeat everything which went before I will direct readers to the previous post and continue here with what happened next…

Tina took part in several meetings with the other students at which various suggestions were put forward; some a bit wild including demonstrations, writing to several magazines and having a ” smoke-in” protest in the student common room. There were a couple of meetings with the principle and other teachers at which Tina was “volunteered” to be the student spokesperson. Tina said that some of the teachers were sympathetic to the student’s case but it was clear that for legal reasons there wasn’t much hope of progress. Finally Tina was called in for a meeting with the principle at which she was offered a deal of sorts.

The principle said that they couldn’t go against the legislation of the Canton which now technically forbids the sale of cigarettes to people under 16 but that students who were sixteen or older could be allowed to smoke in the area the teachers are still allowed to use. This would mean that more than half the students currently complaining would in effect still be allowed to smoke. However some who were not yet 16,including Tina, would not be allowed. Tina asked how seriously it would be taken if she and a few others continued to smoke in the teachers area anyway; after all, she does have her mother’s letter of permission. Could they just “turn a blind eye” to it? She was told that would not be possible since the school must be seen to be obeying the law and promoting a good health and anti smoking stance in public. Thus if she and the other younger smokers continued to smoke on the school grounds or if they got caught sneaking out of the school during the break times there would have to be punishments which would look bad on their school records and letters to their parents which could be embarrassing for them.

Tina was asked to try and “sell” this solution to the students who were protesting because it was the best and only deal they were going to get. And that is what Tina did. The older students were quite pleased with the result, the younger ones not so much. In fact Tina is getting on much better with the older students who are more at her level of maturity. She gets annoyed with some of the ones that are closer to her own age.

“And will you keep to those rules?” I asked her.

“Probably, at first anyway.” She said. “I’m not so addicted that I can’t wait a few hours for a cigarette. I suppose I might sneak out somewhere for a cigarette once in a while when the fuss has died down. To be honest it’s not so important to me to smoke at school. I think some people do it just to show off.”

“And you?”

“I don’t think I’m showing off. I’m just being me. I smoke. I always knew I would. It’s my choice. I like it. And it is kind of a sign to people that they can’t categorise me. I’m a good student but I’m not a sweet and harmless person. I don’t want the teachers to put me in a box and I don’t want my friends to do it either.”

Readers of our other blogs will know that that stems very much from our family’s philosophy. And I have respect for the choices my daughter makes. You know I didn’t think it would be possible to love my daughter more than when she was a very sweet and innocent child pretending to be a vet with her toy animals, but actually I love the woman she is becoming just as much if not more. She is somebody I admire and respect. She is somebody I would choose to have as a friend. Some mothers seem to dread coping with teenage daughters. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I’m strange. But I am enjoying this new stage in our relationship.

About smoking; I accept that she smokes. We all smoke in our household.

Earlier tonight I mentioned to her that I might write about these things in this blog.

“Oh yes. Well if you do, you can use this picture. And don’t pixelate it or blur it or do anything weird like you usually do. I’m not ashamed of who I am or what I do and you shouldn’t be either. Oh and you don’t have to worry about protecting my identity either. I’ve put worse things on my Facebook page!”

Well I’m still the Mum and we will be having a grown up mother and daughter chat about that!