Diary - Class in a glass
Most teachers spend the first day of school setting out class rules and getting to know their pupils. Except in Latvia, where they are likely taking pupils to hospital with suspected alcohol poisoning. Now the former Soviet state's parliament has voted to ban alcohol sales on the first day of the school year. September 1, known as Knowledge Day in the republic, is developing a reputation as an opportunity to get wasted. Among last year's victims was a six-year-old, who spent the first day of their school career in hospital. Although the legal drinking age is 18, 89 per cent of Latvian pupils have consumed alcohol, according to a 2007 survey.