PUTNAM COUNTY, N.Y. -- Teenagers across Putnam County are gearing up for party time during the holidays, just like their parents.
But when it comes to teen parties, parents will want to be on top of the three main questions according to the Putnam Communities That Care Coalition:
- 1. Who is having the party?
- 2. Where is the party?
- 3. Will there be adult supervision?
The CTC also offers the following tips to make sure that all teens have a safe and happy holiday season:
- Know where your teen will be and for how long he/she will be there.
- Contact the parent of the party-giver. Confirm that a parent/adult will be home and supervising the party. Make certain that no alcohol will be served. Offer assistance.
- Know how your teen will be getting to and from the party.
- Discuss how your teen would handle a situation where alcohol was available at a party.
- Make sure your teen knows what time he/she is expected home.
- If your teen is staying overnight at a friend’s house after the party, verify with the friend’s parents that your child will be staying over and that they will be home.
If you are a parent hosting the party, make sure you are prepared for what rules you will need to set including:
- Set ground rules before the party.
- Decide what part of the house will be used for the party.
- Limit party attendance and times.
- Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks available.
- Make sure at least one and preferably several parents-adults are present.
- Do not allow party guests to come and go.
- Avoid easy access to alcohol in your home. If necessary, lock up your liquor.
- Notify the parent of any teen who arrives drunk.
In addition, parents hosting parties should be aware that it's a crime to allow a teen to bring alcohol into their home or provide alcohol to a teen. Any parent that does so has committed the crime of unlawfully dealing with a child, a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, the sentence ranges from one year in county jail to a three-year probationary sentence, fines and/or conditional release.
That parent can also be charged with the Social Host Law, which has been enacted in every town and village in the county. This law only requires that the parent know of the party and that teens are drinking alcohol. This, too, is a class A misdemeanor and can result in a fine plus response recovery costs. A parent is liable for the expense of the response by a public agency or agencies to the incident, which can run into thousands of dollars.
Parents should also take note that under civil law, they can be held liable for any damage caused by a teen who has become intoxicated at the party they are hosting, if they know alcohol is being served, or if they provide alcohol at the party. If an individual dies as a result of an intoxicated minor, they could face a wrongful death cause of action.