San Jose Considers Law To Punish Parents For Teen Drinking

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The city council is weighing the benefits of a so-called “social host” ordinance that would make parents criminally liable if their children were caught drinking at home.

The momentum for such a law started building after a fatal crash involving two Leland High School students.

“We want a social host ordinance. We want to stop this,” was the message Gabrielle Antolovich said she heard over and over during a community forum at the school shortly after the Sept. 21 tragedy.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Antolovich, the executive director of a non-profit drug and alcohol education group called Voice United, said the city manager could essentially cut and paste laws already on the books in nine other Santa Clara County cities.

A similar law governing the unincorporated areas of the county has become an invaluable tool in curbing underage drinking, said Sgt. Rick Sung, spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department.

“Now the parents are more aware,” he said, because they risk fines and potential arrest.

The rules committee of the city council is researching those laws. A community forum on the issue is scheduled for December 3.

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  • Joe

    I’m split down the middle on this one. I drank as a teen on occasion and it was in no way my parents being neglectful as much as it was me and my friends being sneaky. As strict a parent as I am myself now, I still can’t say with certainty that my teenagers would not be able to pull this off themselves “if” the opportunity occurred. Does this proposal impact only those under 18? I ask that because I firmly believe that if you can enlist in the military to go fight in this governments personal wars and risk being killed, you should be trusted to have a beer if you want as well. Not long ago the drinking age was 18. Drinking carries responsibilities whether you’re 18 or 80. I would say parents need to educate their children on the dangers and consequences of drinking to excess. I don’t drink myself but I see no harm in having a good time if done safely and responsibly.

  • Joe

    On the other side of what I said above, parenting is a huge responsibility. That said, if your teens are hosting a party, make sure you’re being the adult and monitoring what’s going on, how people are getting home, etc. Sadly there are parents out there that really shouldn’t be allowed to multiply yet we can’t make a law on that lol. If you have children you should be taking care of them and raising them right with or without this law spoken of in the article.

  • Olaf

    Please keep politicians out of my home. I am a better judge about what is good for my children than some politician who is trying to ride a wave of populism to get re-elected. Don’t we have a recession to fix? A budget cap to close?

  • Joy

    I think we as parents are in a very tough spot. We should never condone or provide alcohol to our kids. But, as we all did, kids will sometimes find a way to get it in the house. I have a strict rule that if anyone does anything, they must sleep over. I never provide or encourage anything but, am aware of reality. My son never had big parties or anything so, if that were the case I might have a different viewpoint. In addition, when I was young and we got in a little trouble out in the community, we would be sent home for our parents to handle. Today, the consequences for our kids to have fun outside of the home is very serious and could change their lives forever. The rules are so rigid and strict – not like a village or community that takes care of one another. So, how can you send your kids out on the streets to do things where they will get in serious trouble. Ideally, they shouldn’t do anything. But, reality is that we did… so who are we to judge. Growing up is a time of experimentation within reason. It is more important to teach our kids moderation. We are the adults and they are the adolescents. It concerns me that parents are sometimes worse than their adolescents. That is when we have problems!!

  • Joy

    But, again. It is not a parents place to provide or condone alcohol or anything to their friends or even their kids. We have enough drug and alcohol problems in our community. Lets try to teach them how to have fun without it :)))

  • Phillip

    I have a few issues with this. First is the statement “parents criminally liable if their children were caught drinking at home.” It is legally acceptable for a parent to serve alcohol to their own child in their own home. Second is if a parent is not home and their teen drinks against the parents wishes, the parent can be fined up to $1000.00?? I dont think so.

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