Underage Drinking & the Law

What parents need to know now about the new Social Host Laws

Parents spanked by Clarion Ledger editor

Ouch!  David Hampton, editorial director of Jackson, Mississippi’s Clarion Ledger newspaper, — who call themselves “The Real Mississippi” —  believes the new Mississippi-wide Social Host Law is all about  “Parents who want to be ‘the cool mom and dad’ rather than the ‘responsible’ ones.”  We think he’s missing the point. Good Social Host Laws are about stopping criminal behavior; they should never be a means for state governments to pass laws just to change parenting styles. What do you think?

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To read the original editorial:

Teen drinking: ‘Social host’ outlawed – The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com – April 8, 2011 – Editorial

2 comments on “Parents spanked by Clarion Ledger editor

  1. Jeff Silvey
    April 9, 2011

    Encouraging underage drinking is illegal. So, either way, the law does stop criminal behavior. It is disconcerting to think about a state government passing a law to change parenting styles. However, I don’t think that’s what happened here. I think they passed their law, and there just may be some confusion regarding the way it was described later. Just a thought.

    • H. M. Epstein
      April 9, 2011

      I may be splitting hairs, but there’s nothing illegal about “encouraging” underage drinking, although the rational among us would consider it a very bad idea. There are laws on the books about serving, selling and providing alcohol to minors, all of which are criminal behavior. The gap that law enforcement wishes to fill is the one between the obvious where there’s plenty of evidence (i.e., the sleazeball who actively throws a party for teens) and the one where there is no hard evidence (i.e., the hapless parent who doesn’t recognize when they’ve been outwitted by their teens or the teen who’s overwhelmed by their “friends” showing up with booze when the parents are out). The issue is about the rule of law and the requirement of evidence. The fact that many advocates like to criticize parenting styles is just an irritant.

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