It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

One of the big problems in many towns these days, is the issue of under-age keg parties, and how to prevent them. This becomes most critical at this time of year, with graduation parties, prom parties, and soon the pre-college going away parties. It is becoming increasingly common for school and police departments to become aware of these parties before they occur, as a result of things like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. As a result of the ability of town officials to monitor these sites and learn of the private parties and event being planned by the older teens, which often include beer and marijuana, the issue becomes what to do with this information. There are several competing interests in making this decision.

However, it should be the primary objective of all town officials, be they school or law enforcement personnel, to make the safety and welfare of the residents their primary concern. Unfortunately, often times these officials believe that they will make a bigger impression on the greater number of teens, if they allow the party to get going, and then break up the party, arrest the party-giver, and possibly find out who purchased the beer or where it was purchased. However, in their zeal to make a splash with the publicity of breaking up yet another "kegger," they lose sight of their primary responsibility, safety of the residents. What would happen if someone comes to the party, has too much to drink and then leaves, in a car before the police arrive or as a result of their arrival. If there were an accident as a result, or in the event a partygoer became ill at the party from too much to drink, wouldn't the town bear some responsibility for their actions. If they could have prevented the part y entirely, but chose to let it start and wait until the maximum number of teens had arrived, what would their response be to their culpability in an unhappy result.

It should be the mandate for any town to inform parents of a teen who they have information will be hosting a party where alcohol will be present. The town should work with the parents in "nipping to party in the bud," rather than keeping the parents in the dark and allowing the party to get off the ground.