We are finally having spring and with that moving in to the time of year where we celebrate many events:  proms, award ceremonies, graduations.  Each school and community has its traditions and unique way to say bravo and congratulations.  This is the season where we commemorate and mark milestones.  While doing so, it is critical to consider not just what the party theme might be, but to give equal thought and importance to how we keep our teens safe and how to prevent tragedy.

As adults we are responsible for setting the rules, discussing the rules, enforcing the rules, providing legal, sound, fun ways to celebrate and share.  In Massachusetts we have a strong Social Host Law.  Richard Campbell, Esq. of Campbell and Campbell has created a wonderful program, ‘Be A Parent, Not A Pal”.  Please refer to their website. www.SocialHostLiability.org for a comprehensive education on  social host liability law.  It is absolutely clear:  The legal drinking age is 21.  Serving or providing alcohol to underage guests or allowing them to drink alcohol in your home or any other property you control is against the law.  If you furnish alcohol to those under 21 you are subject to criminal prosecution.  You may also be sued civilly.  Dr. John Knight of Children’s Hospital Boston has created a website:  www.teen-safe.org which provides a candid discussion and video presentation of the hazards of teen drinking.  Taking away car keys has proven not to work and has led to a number of South Shore fatalities in the past.

We do want our youth to have fun.  We do want our youth to enjoy the moment and to play and celebrate.  It is vital that the message be clear: Drinking is unacceptable but fun is available.  There is no room for turning a blind eye or being naïve.  It is imperative for us to provide safe, healthy options for communities, families, and friends to gather together.   We must do the right thing for our teens by role modeling and displaying appropriate behavior and choices.  Parents who band together become part of the village dedicated to helping our youth safely navigate another major milestone.