Schools take on underage drinking in prom, graduation season

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - With prom and graduation upon us, would you buy your teenager alcohol? New statistics from Mother's Against Drunk Driving report 26 percent of teens indicate they are getting their liquor from parents.

Some Heartland parents say they were shocked by the number, others admit that's how they keep tabs on their kids.

It comes as law enforcement and schools take a proactive approach to underage drinking. They say it's a must after too many Heartland incidents.

"I don't think teens even consider the consequences," said Scott County Prosecutor Paul Boyd. "Teens think it's a right of passage."

Boyd recently spoke to parents and teens at mandatory meetings at Notre Dame High School in Cape Girardeau. In his presentation, he gives students and their parents real life examples that happen close to home.

Those examples include an underage party in 2007 in Sikeston. There, 37 students were arrested. The parents who hosted the party each faced $2000 in fines.

Meanwhile, Boyd points to another case in 2009. This time in Oran a ride home ends in tragedy when two teens lose their lives.

"If they understand what can happen they'll think it through," said Boyd. "We want to save as many as we can."

Parents say these cases didn't have to happen. They call the meetings eye opening and well worth the time.

"After the meeting my son and I discussed it," said Eric Schuchardt. "He said if he's ever at a party he's going to call home and get out of the situation. I believe him."

"A lot of times teens find themselves in places they didn't expect to be," said Tammy Graham. "They need to know how they can get out of that and why it's so important."

Students also say the meetings got their attention.

"It's so important since it's going around everyday," said Trever Foltz. "I don't think people understand the outcome that can happen."

"It's really important because in Spring it seems like there's more accidents and people need to know that it can happen to them too," said Miranda Fowler.

Parents also reacted to the statistics from MADD indicating many teens get their alcohol from them.

"I don't know what the parents are thinking," said Schuchardt. "They think they can control it but they don't know what the kids' had before they get there or if they are on medication. They could have an extra set of keys."

"Unfortunately it doesn't surprise me," said Graham. "I know students who get alcohol from their parents and I wish more parents would try to prevent it."

Proactive parents say it's not enough to just know your kids friends anymore.

"I make sure I know their parents too," said Schuchardt.

According to new statistics from MADD, another 25 percent of teens report getting their alcohol from someone who is 21 or older who is not related. Twenty-two percent say they get it from someone under 21 who is not related.

Ten percent say they take it from home.

Five percent say they take liquor from someone else's home.

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