Archive for May 2009
This week, I have been following the news story about the students and parent cited at the J.L.Mann after-prom event. I must say, I am not surprised that teenagers were caught with alcohol after the prom. I am more surprised at the response by parents and the community.
This incident is not about bad kids or bad parents; it is about bad choices and bad decisions. With bad choices, especially those in which a law is broken, there should be consequences and accountability. This is how we learn from mistakes and bad judgment. I think we need to do right by the teens involved, including holding them accountable for their actions.
I think this is a great time for everyone to examine the current underage drinking culture in Greenville that perpetuates events like this and the response to it. Is this our Greenville? Is it a place where:
•Social popularity overrides the law, safety, and common sense?
•Underage drinking is a "rite of passage" and should be accepted?
•It is all right for teens to drink as long as parents are aware of it and present?
•Our definition of responsible drinking is that it is alright for teens to drink as long as they do not drive.
•Parents will make excuses for them when it is their teen.
•There should be exceptions to the laws for special occasions.
•When caught, there is always someone else to blame (the police, culture, other parents, the people who sell alcohol, etc.).
Is this the Greenville we want our children to grow up in, work in, and remain to raise their children?
What are we modeling for our teens about respect for the law and school policies? What is the answer to right and wrong?
In this incident, laws were broken and school policies were violated. This can never be right. I believe that most parents are proud of our community and the way we raise our children. I refuse to believe that we think all teens will drink and that the police should leave them alone to celebrate and break the law. If most parents believe like I do, I think it is time to speak up and let our teens know how we feel and what we expect. This is not a time to blame. It is a time to speak up and move forward to help change the underage drinking culture in Greenville.
I believe all parents know what is right, but I also know that it is hard. Remember, our mission at Greenville Family Partnership is to keep kids off of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs by educating and partnering with families and the community. We are here to support parents and the community and to take a stand against underage drinking for the safety of our teens. Holding parents and teens responsible is not a blame game.
Contact us at (864) 467-4099 for additional resources and information.