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April 25, 2013

Parents who host alcohol parties for minors bear responsibility

NEW ALBANY —

With prom season gearing up, parents who host their high schooler’s keggers could face serious legal ramifications.

Parents Who Host Lose the Most, an organization in Floyd County to discourage parents’ promotion of underage drinking, held a press conference Wednesday morning to address the dangers and consequences of allowing minors to get drunk.

Keith Henderson, Floyd County prosecutor, said while parents think it’s more responsible if they monitor parties with drinking, it puts more on the shoulders of the parent.

“The message today that I want to send is that’s not OK,” Henderson said. “Not only is it dangerous for those that are there, not only is there a liability for the parents if someone leaves intoxicated and harms someone else or themselves, especially in a car, it’s illegal in the state of Indiana. That’s contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

Parents who allow minors to drink on their property, even with permission and in the house, could face a six-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. Parents can also face lawsuits from other parents if those drunk minors damage property or cause personal injury.

Barbara Bridgwater, community youth champion with Youth Count, said a survey conducted by her organization polled about 6,000 students in grades six through 12. She said one in four of those students had gone to a party where others were drinking. She said parents need to be positive role models in their children’s lives, even if they feel like it’s difficult to talk about drugs and alcohol if the parents have done them in the past.

“We need to step up as a community, as families, and say we’ve got to be careful with our parties,” Bridgwater said. “Don’t host these parties where kids are drinking because they need us to be role models. We can’t live in a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ society.”

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