Thursday afternoon teens from the Placer County Youth Commission presented their case for adopting social host ordinances to an audience of Coalition for Placer Youth partners and concerned citizens at the community room in the Rocklin Police Department.
Social host ordinances levy fines for hosting events that permit underage drinking, which cyber-powered “friend” communities promote as normal. The Roseville Facebook party event planner arrested last July was cited as the example of how the norm for teen parties involves alcohol in a brazen, central way.
Eunice Kim, 17, from New Castle, is the president of the PCYC. “Awareness and accountability is necessary,” Kim said, “I suspect that most parents do not realize how serious this problem is for youth.”
The biggest concern expressed by the youth is that adults allow it and kids believe drinking alcohol is harmless as long as they are not driving while drunk. According to 17-year-old Reed Klaeser of Granite Bay, drinking alcohol has evolved into an expectation. “Teens understand that drunk driving is dangerous, but do not recognize the other dangers.”
The City of Rocklin is the first municipality in the county to research and prepare a social host ordinance, which is still in review stages and anticipated to be approved sometime in October. Lieutenant Forrest Richardson of the Rocklin Police Department made a presentation about the reasons why a social ordinance would be an asset for their community. “From June 2009 to June 2012, we received over 2,200 calls about unruly parties involving alcohol and music,” Richardson said, “And our experience has been that bars are good at screening for underage, but adults at home are not.”
The youth commission representatives and Richardson shared the same concerns:
- Over 40% of Placer teens report that alcohol is easy to access at home and through family relations (Source: local CPY survey data)
- Binge drinking is increasing at parties
- Teens expressed concern about underage drinking parties resulting in cases of sexual assault, alcohol poisoning, and violence
Brandon Barry, 17, of Auburn has been working on this problem for the past three years. “When parents are silent about this issue, and other adults are allowing underage drinking, it is giving permission.”
Anne Staines is the CEO of ProProse, a Sacramento social marketing firm whose expertise is helping change social norms for greater good, is consulting on this project. “This is a wonderful example of youth and law enforcement working together,” Staines said.
To support PCYC in their effort to get the social host ordinance passed, you can sign the petition at the CPY website: Social Host Ordinance Information Center.
- Parenting in the network
- As a parent thinketh
- Coalition For Placer Youth
- Placer County Youth Commission
- Full Circle Treatment Center