I know this may be getting tiresome, but a recent story in the Boston Globe was a reminder to me that this story never goes away. It seems that this past New Years Eve the mother of a 17 year old gave her daughter permission to have a party. Apparently the mother was to be home during this party. Sometime after midnight, the local police department got an anonymous call from the party saying that there was an "unconscious male" at this party.
Police arrived at the house, rang the doorbell, pounded on the door, but to no avail. They peered in the window and saw the passed out teen and finally found an unlocked basement door, and proceeded to treat this boy. Teens were rushing out of the house, avoiding arrest for underage drinking, and police found a houseful of bongs, beer and booze bottles.
As the police were treating this boy, the mom who had amazingly been asleep upstairs, come down wanting to know what all the fuss was about. Turns out this mom is a high powered attorney who has got to know about the Massachusetts social host law, so she can't possibly claim that she didn't know.
What is scariest about this situation is that the mom claimed that she knew the kids would be drinking so she took away their car keys, assuming all would be fine! And off to sleep she went, after her own little nightcap. (police smelled alcohol on her breath)
So for all you parents who think that just taking the kids car keys away assures a safe night of partying...this is for you. As I have said many times before, if teens can get drunk...they will get drunk. They do not pay heed to the "everything in moderation" message that they may hear from adults in their life. Thank god, there was a teen at this party that was paying attention to something other than his/her own good time. Because it was clear that having a parent home did not take care of making sure the kids were safe, and this teen guest took it into her/his own hands to potentially save a kid's life. What a hero, be it an unsung one.
When you send your teen out on a weekend night, please teach them to be responsible for each other. Using an "I get it" statement, your conversation should go like this: "Honey, I just read this story about a recent teen party that got out of control. Thank god someone at the party saw a kid passed out and rather than just walking over him thinking he was just tired, they put an anonymous call into the police for help. This kid could have died, if someone hadn't paid attention. I hope that you would do the same. That is why it is so important not to be so out of it that you or one of your friends might be the one needing that kind of help. I get that you will be at parties where parents are home. But as I just learned from this newspaper article, having a parent home during a teen party absolutely does not guarantee that they will be looking out for the safety of those kids at their house. Please, I am begging you, be aware of what's going on around you when you are out. You may save a life!"http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/01/10/attorney-faces-criminal-charges-for-hosting-new-year-eve-party/FaxlIVBoUANAbfJF7vQEyK/story.html