According to an Associated Press article in The Washington Times, and a segment on TODAY at MSNBC.com (video below), parents of a high school athlete thought it better to have the celebratory football “party” at their house. A place where they could have control over setting the ground rules for such an event, which included no alcohol and that the father (a Stanford University professor) would be checking up on the festivities throughout the evening.
Sounds like a logical plan, right?
As is the case, many times, with teens (especially with larger groups like the 44 that attended this gathering) someone, or several someone’s, snuck alcohol into the party right under the noses of the well-intended, supervising parents. A neighbor phoned in an anonymous complaint giving the impression to police that there was underage drinking going on at the party.
Upon investigation (even with assurance from the father that there was no drinking and he had already checked on the kids twice), the police subsequently found alcohol and the father was promptly arrested. He was charged with 44 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, one count for every underage attendee.
This particular situation raises an important question regarding parental responsibility and alcohol possession and consumption by minors. I mean, where do we draw the line? How do police, the community, and/or society measure when a parent has been prudent, responsible, and proactive enough in their actions to prevent the illegalities and safety risk of such a poor choice by teens?
On the surface, at least based on what is in the report and video, it does seem that the steps taken by these parents were practical, sensible ways to encourage proper behavior. However, it did nothing to stop these devious students.
So, again, where do we draw the line? When has a parent exhausted all possible means at their disposal to prevent such behavior and keep their kids safe? When have they taken “all reasonable steps to prevent the possession and/or consumption of alcohol…by any minor?”
It does appear, based on this story that the answer to the question, where does a parent’s responsibility end, is never!!!
However, there is one likely fact, and question, that did come to my mind immediately after reading the story and watching it unfold on the video. A piece of the story that was neither mentioned nor inferred to in any way.
And that likely fact…there is very little doubt that their son knew there was drinking going on, and he most assuredly knew the rules his parents had set for the party. It was that choice by their son to not let his parents know what was going on, and/or insist that the partygoers who brought the alcohol leave immediately (admittedly difficult choices for a teen to make), that led to his father’s arrest.
Yes, in this case, it does seem that the parents took the right steps, but their son did not. Certainly a tough lesson for him to learn, no doubt, but one that will stick with him for a lifetime.