June is a month of many graduation celebrations in the metro area. Too often, post-graduation parties end in tragedy when hosts or party-goers drink and drive, or make other poor decisions. Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD, formerly Students Against Driving Drunk), along with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) offer this advice to parents of teenagers who will be attending graduation parties:
- “Reinforce your expectations. Throughout their high school years, you’ve set rules and established the consequences for breaking them. Perhaps you’ve loosened up on a few rules, like curfew. But be clear — drinking or drug use remains unacceptable. Being an upperclassman has privileges, but it also has responsibilities.
- Encourage your teens to make each moment count. They only get one senior year. Let them know you don’t want them to miss out on things because of bad choices, like drinking or drug use. One bad choice could change their lives forever.
- Provide safe alternatives. Parties abound during senior year. Plan chaperoned alcohol-free parties around graduation.”
One good way to ensure that your teenagers and their friends are not making dangerous decisions is to offer to host a post-graduation party. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recommends the following for parents of teens holding a party:
- “Set ground rules with your teen before the party:
- Stress shared responsibility for hosting the party and jointly plan the party activities.
- Plan on being home during the entire party:
- Carefully select the location for the party to allow for comfort and adequate supervision.
- Replenish the food trays and the drinks. Your presence will help keep the party running smoothly and give you a chance to meet your teen’s friends — but do not hang around!
- Remember it is illegal to serve alcohol to guests who are under 21 or to allow guests to use other drugs in your home. Let you teen know the laws and the consequences.
- Alert yourself to the signs of alcohol or other drug use by teens.
- Guests who try to bring in these substances should be asked to leave. Be willing to call the police if unwanted guests refuse to leave.
- Notify the parents of teens who arrive at the party drunk or under the influence of any other drug to ensure the teen’s safe transportation home.
- Notify the police when planning a large party.
- This will help the police protect you, your guests and your neighbors.
- Discuss with police an agreeable plan for guest parking.
- Note: The ability of police to assist you will, of course, depend upon the size of your community and its police force.
- Notify your neighbors of the party. Limit the party attendance and set start and ending times.
- Make a guest list, issue invitations and restrict party crashing.
- Guests should not be allowed to come and go.
- This will discourage teens from leaving the party to drink or use other drugs elsewhere and return.”
For information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long PLLC at (202) 463-3030.