02/04 - Parent-provided alcohol riles group - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

02/04 - Parent-provided alcohol riles group

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Posted: Wednesday, February 4, 2004 9:06 am | Updated: 5:01 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

A Desert Mountain High School parent group, concerned over word a parent held a recent keg party, wants parents to stop serving alcohol to children not their own and urges all parents to investigate the parties their children go to.

"I feel pretty strongly that it’s not ethically right for another parent to offer kids that are not theirs alcohol," said Susie Matush, member of the Parent Network Committee. "They cannot make that decision for another parent’s children."

Matush also serves on the Teen Alcohol Substance Abuse Task Force, which is discussing ways to work with the community to lower teen alcohol consumption.

Many parents at schools throughout the East Valley sign agreements not to offer alcohol in their home and agree to do their best to ensure parties are drug-free.

Their names, in a directory distributed to parents at the beginning of the year, are notated with an asterisk.

That’s supposed to mean it’s a safe situation if students are at the house and parents are in control.

"It’s just good to know what parents share the same values that you do," said Debbie Michalowski, the parentteacher organization president.

But Judy Beauchamp, president of the parent network, urged parents to do their own investigation when their children are going out — and not rely on the directory.

She said a parent called her, outraged to hear that the party was held in a home in which the parent had signed the agreement.

An asterisk was by this parent’s name, Beauchamp said.

"Their point was — why bother signing and what can you do about it," she said. "It’s a very small tool. I know that, if my kid wants to go to (someone’s) house and it has an asterisk, it does not mean they will abide by it. I think that’s being naive."

Chaparral High School was successful last year in cutting back parent-provided keg parties after a threat from the football coaches that names would be posted on a Web site, said parent Terry Benson.

"The whole community came together — the school and the parent community," Benson said. "I haven’t heard of any problems this year."

Earlier this year, Saguaro High School football players were benched for attending a Halloween party with alcohol at a student’s home.

For more information or to borrow a tape on the effects of teenage alcohol use, visit www.dmhspto.org.

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