Commentary: Keep Teens Safe for Summer

Commentary: Keep Teens Safe for Summer

Prom and graduation seasons are upon us, and these are the biggest landmarks in our teens’ lives so far. While it is certainly a time for celebration, it is also a time for parents to ensure the safety of these young adults. I want to ask all parents to keep our community safe by not hosting parties teen parties with alcohol and speaking to your children about the dangers of drunk driving.

The way parents raise their own kids in the privacy of their homes is their business. However, when other children are involved and given alcohol, it becomes a community concern and threat to public safety. Through a motion I presented, the Board of Supervisors unanimously directed our Police Department to arrest parents who host parties for minors where alcohol is served. If you are caught hosting one of these parties then you will be arrested and sent to jail.

There is no responsible way to host a teen party with alcohol. Not only are teens underage, but teen brains are more negatively impacted by alcohol than an adult’s. The developing mind already has a tendency to take risks and not perceive consequences for their actions. When one introduces alcohol to this situation, the risky behavior goes into overdrive and puts our young people in a dangerous position. Teens are also more likely to binge drink, which creates an even greater risk to their health in the short and long term. At its worst, teen drinking can result in drunk driving, assault, drug use, teen pregnancy, injury, or even death. When parents provide youth with alcohol, they are jeopardizing these children’s lives.

Every year we hear stories about devastating accidents caused by teens driving under the influence after prom or graduation. It is not something that just happens in other neighborhoods. These accidents happen in our own backyards. Nationally, 10,497 people died in 2016 from drunk driving accidents. Fifteen percent of those accidents were caused by drivers under 21. A single accident like this is one too many.

That is why it is up to us as parents to set good examples to our children. We have to set clear rules and expectations for them to follow in this season of celebrations. Talk to your teens about the dangers of drinking. Make it clear that if they drink and drive or go to these underage drinking parties they are risking their future.