Thursday, May 31, 2012

Legal Responsibilities of Graduation Parties

It's graduation season! Celebrations honoring the hard work of high school graduates is a fun, exciting and hectic time.  It also needs to be legal.  Laura K. Brestovansky, writer for The Macomb Daily, wrote an excellent article discussing the legal ramifications of hosting graduation parties.
If you are hosting or attending graduation parties, Example wants to encourage you to be aware of the responsibilities so all who attend can enjoy experience without legal or tragically fatal consequences.

Here are a couple of interesting excerpts:
  • Parents who are planning post-prom and -commencement parties for their teens try to make their gatherings enticing enough to keep the seniors from going elsewhere (i.e., to locations where there could be risky substances and behaviors). But those parents must also keep those substances from being smuggled in by their guests.
  • "When we asked focus groups of students at Chippewa Valley and Dakota High School, many of the students said, ‘You need to talk to the parents,’” Dr. McGunn said. “There are a lot of parents who are either looking the other way, offering teens alcohol or who perhaps are not in the room where the party is taking place.” Dr. McGunn is the executive director of the Chippewa Valley Coalition for Youth and Families.
  • Hold your ground! Don’t provide, ignore or excuse the use of alcohol with kids,” the hosting guidelines conclude. Check pop and water bottles that guests bring.
  • “Parents are key in sending appropriate messages to their children,” Dr. McGunn said. “They need to model good behavior — not serve or provide alcohol — and really supervise the party.”
  • ...Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham points out, parents can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor (a 90-day misdemeanor). They also can be fined up to $1,000. He said several communities have ordinances concerning house parties that could mean additional citations.  
  • Even when uninvited guests come,” Wickersham said. “It’s your responsibility as parents to control what goes on.” He noted that parents can face civil lawsuits if a situation, such as a drunken-driving accident or an injury, occurs because of underage drinking in their home.

Read the article for for more recommendations for hosting parties and for teens who are attending parties