Monday, March 14, 2011
LETTER TO PARENTS
Newsletter: April 2011
Teens, Parties, and Alcohol Don’t Mix
Many well-meaning parents think that it is enough to take away car keys at their teen’s parties so the teens can’t drink and drive. Parents provide the alcohol or allow alcohol to be consumed based on the false belief that it’s a rite of passage, especially at prom and graduation parties.
Parents often cite these two misguided reasons, safety and rite of passage, for hosting teen parties where alcohol is served. They believe it is “safer” for kids to drink at home, and may even think that hosting teen parties makes them appear to be a “cool” parent. When parents serve alcohol to teens in their home, in reality what they are doing is facilitating their kids’ comfort with alcohol. This practice sends a mixed message. Teens believe, “If it’s OK to drink at home, it’s OK to drink.” The reality is that the consequences can be overwhelming and in extreme cases fatal.
Parents planning to host parties for their teens should think twice before serving alcohol. Hosting a party for teenagers with alcohol can be costly. It is illegal, unsafe, and unhealthy for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol.
Here are the laws in Lawrence:
• You cannot host minors consuming alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverages at your residence, land, building or rented room (ex: hotel).
• As an adult, it is unlawful to directly or indirectly sell to, buy for, give or furnish any alcoholic liquor or beer to anyone under the age of 21.
• Furnishing/purchasing alcohol can result in a minimum fine of $200 and a sentence of up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines plus, court and legal fees.
• Hosting a party carries a minimum fine of $1,000 or up to $2,500 with up to a year in county jail, plus court and legal fees.
We hope you will partner with the New Tradition Coalition and the City of Lawrence as we launch the “Parents Who Host, Lose The Most” public awareness campaign to help parents think about the dangers of teenage drinking parties. The campaign stresses to parents that hosting teen drinking parties should not be regarded as a “rite of passage” but as a health and safety problem with legal ramifications. Don’t be a party to teenage drinking. Refuse to supply alcohol to children in your home or on your property; be at home when your teenager has a party; make sure your teenager’s friends do not bring alcohol into your home (even if that means checking backpacks and purses); talk to other parents about providing alcohol-free beverages at youth events; provide teenagers with opportunities for alcohol-free events and activities, and report underage drinking. Call 1-866-MUST-BE-21, or your local police to report violations. Together, we can make the difference.