Prom and Graduation Parties Minus Alcohol

Prom and Graduation Parties Minus Alcohol
By:  Wes Wallace
Cape Girardeau, MO -- Tis the season!  With high schoolers across the Heartland getting ready for prom and graduation, sometimes those celebrations also include alcohol.
"In my years as a prosecutor, I've seen too many cases where a young adult's life was dramatically altered by combining alcohol and bad judgement," explains Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle.
A common trend for some parents, that's been around for decades-giving their teenagers alcohol at home, to keep them off the roads, if they chose to drink.  Missouri state law allows parents to provide an alcoholic beverage to their children under their own supervision.  However, it's illegal of course, to give it to other teens.  It's a misdemeanor crime for both adults and minors, if they're convicted of underage drinking or providing alcohol.  The punishment?   Up to a year in jail and a fine, or possibly only probation.
Letter in the Mail

Earlier this week, Morley Swingle sent out a letter on behalf of a local committee to parents of all Cape County seniors at both public and private schools.  It reminded them that it's illegal to host these underage drinking parties.
"I came home from work, and my daughter said 'Dad, why did you send one to yourself," says Swingle laughing, "It's because I sent them to EVERY parent of a senior, including myself."
Swingle points out he sees cases a few times a year, where some parent or adult gives alcohol to a minor or hosts such a party, and inevitably a neighbor will call and complain, or a teen under the influence will have a run in with police.

Parents on Parties

Not many parents of teenagers wanted to talk about the issue.   Perhaps of it's sensitive nature, or simply because they didn't want to run the risk of embarassing their child.   A man who asked to remain anonymous commented, "It's just irresponsible and wrong for any parent to host these type of parties.  It may seem like a good idea to keep them at home and off the roads if they know they're going to drink.  Really, it's against the law, and parents should have talks with their kids about waiting until they're 21 and about the responsibility of drinking."