The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Teenage Wasteland

By Jocelyn Geboy in News on Sep 6, 2005 4:51PM

Chicagoist always hears conservative political pundits say that money won’t solve the problems of the inner city. That giving more money to failing public schools – schools where teachers have to provide their own chalk and where the actual buildings are falling into disrepair – is not the solution to rising violence, falling test scores, and a system that seems to be falling apart before our very eyes. 2005_09passout.jpg

The pundits say that it is the fault of the parents. They say that if the moral structure of the family were in place, money wouldn’t matter. Parents would be teaching their children right from wrong. They would be seeing to it that their children did their homework. They would see to it that they didn’t get involved with gangs and drugs.

Maybe they’re right.

Ranking third on Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live List,” Naperville seems to be caught up in that very conundrum. Having some of the best schools, parks, neighborhoods and police forces in the country, much less the state, Naperville is nonetheless plagued by a growing concern… teenagers who are in love with the sauce.

Apparently, money really doesn’t do the trick. The BMWs, SUVs and other high ticket cars that line the parking lots of Naperville North and Central high schools aren’t making the kids any less restless, irritable or discontented. Like all good future members of AA know, there are some things that only a good pull off a bottle (of fake bottled water) can cure.

A Chicago Tribune article today says that last year, 10 students were caught with alcohol and were so liquored up that they were choaching by first or second period. Not exactly weekend binging, no big deal kind of drinking. This is a town that glitters on the outside, but is potentially rotting from the inside. 2005_09_nappolice.jpg

So Naperville Central is putting the smackdown on the kids. They're tired of having to deal with drunken students at football games and dances. They’re making every student go through a test to see if they’ve been drinking before entering the football games….if they’re suspected, out comes a breathalyzer. And word has it the Naperville police know how to use a breathalyzer -- they are number one in DUI arrests in Illinois as of 2002. This Friday, no one was caught drinking, and the only losers at the game were the Redhawks.

But Naperville Central Principal Jim Caudill wants to go a step further, banning all outside beverages from the school and not allowing kids to drink from their water bottles during class. Parents aren't keen on this, suggesting that the Man wants their kids to have to spend more money on vending machines in the school.

All Chicagoist has to say is WHA? When Chicagoist went to school, there was no drinking in class! You had to wait until the bell rang! You had to wait and get a drink from the fountain! You had to wait until lunch!

Money Magazine might think it's the third best place to live in the country, but right now it seems like Naperville has a problem that money can't solve.