“School goes back in time” on M6: here is the alcoholic drink that we gave to the children in the canteen

“School goes back in time” on M6: here is the alcoholic drink that we gave to the children in the canteen

Did you know ? In the 1950s, a specific drink was widely distributed at school. Preview.

While school is at the heart of many social and political debates, the M6 ​​channel is currently broadcasting a fun program, allowing you to “go back in time”. This program, which follows the immersion of students and teachers in 1880, 1930, 1950 and 1980, allows us to (re)discover how much the school, but also society and mentalities, have evolved in a century. However, in the last episode, a new element shook the schoolchildren…

An alcoholic drink given on school benches

No offense to parents concerned about the well-being of their children… The consumption of wine in the canteen was not surprising a few years ago. In fact, red wine cut with water was served until 1956 during meals, even in primary school.

A bad habit highlighted in the show “School going back in time“, where we see a master offering (for fake) wine to astonished college students. The latter say they are “shocked” by the attitude of their teacher, who nevertheless confides to them that this custom… was intended to protect them possible infections.

As water was not drinkable at the time, people preferred to give wine to children or wine cut with water.“, asserts the master.

A shocking but widespread trivialization of alcohol, believes Stéphane Le Bras, historian.

The national propaganda committee in favor of wine (created in 1931 Editor’s note), which was placed under the aegis of the State, did everything to promote the consumption of wine in schools. One of its priority targets was children“, he tells our colleagues at Planet.fr.

Important fact: the government decided to put an end to this French custom in 1956. A circular indicated that children under 14 were no longer allowed to consume alcohol within school walls.

On the other hand, college students can continue to taste “ddrinks containing no more than three degrees of alcohol” (the equivalent of a beer or a sweet cider) if they obtain the agreement of their parents.

The said document also specifies that each student only has the right to “an eighth of a liter” wine mixed with water, beer or light cider… To the great dismay of parents, who oppose these restrictions.

A certain number of parents put the drink of their choice in the child’s basket. Often half a liter of wine, or cider, or beer depending on the region. I recently heard, in the Paris region, of a little tragedy: the parents insisted that the drink be given to the children, the director refusing… The parents decided that the children would drink their wine before to go to school. Children arrive at school red, sweaty and half asleep all morning“, was alarmed by Doctor Suzanne Serin, whose testimony was recently unearthed from the ORTF archives by France Info.

A glass of milk and a cube of sugar per child

To deal with these demands, the government is using the strong method. The High Committee for Study and Information on Alcoholism was created in November 1954, under the leadership of Pierre Mendès France.

Pour “be studious, strong and vigorous, drink milk!“, then proclaimed the President of the Council.

He even organizes the distribution of a glass of milk and a cube of sugar in the playgrounds of all schools. His goal ? Combat malnutrition and alcoholism among children.

Alcoholism among the youngest: real progress, but the fight continues

If France has made progress in this area, two recent studies, one commissioned by the League against Cancer from OpinionWay, the other by BVA Xsight for Addiction France, tell us that the fight against alcohol is far from complete. be won.

Thus, 3/4 of French people see no problem in letting underage teenagers consume alcohol during end-of-year holiday meals and a third of them even believe that it is possible to serve alcohol. alcohol to adolescents under 15 years old, according to La Ligue contre le Cancer.

Addiction France indicates, for its part, that alcohol consumption by 15 to 17 year olds is considered “acceptable” in a family or festive context by 55% of French people, or more than one in two.

“It is so anchored in French culture that ultimately it passes as an initiation rite in which families do not realize that it is not good for their children, and do not realize that consumption even in any small quantity, can have risks for the health of their own children”, regrets Marion Gasteau, Addiction France project manager.

More than ever, protecting children from alcohol remains a major challenge… which begins at a very young age, around the table.