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Parents Talk: Teenage Alcohol, Substance Abuse

What are school administrators' roles in controlling the problem? What about parents?

Parents Talk is a new feature on Patch that's part of an initiative to build a community of support for families in Fairfield County.

Each week in Parents Talk, our parent council comprised of local residents will take your questions, give advice and share solutions on a variety of issues affecting children and families.

Moms, dads, grandparents and many diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about local neighborhood schools, how to deal with tough situations, how to find the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.

Parents Talk will also be the place to drop in for a chat about the latest parenting hot topic. Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How do we talk to our children about underage drinking? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks?

Today's topic is alcohol and substance abuse among our high school students. What should school administrators do to address the problem? What about police youth officers? Parents? What's the root of the problem?

Parents Council members are on line to chat with you now! Please use the comment box below for questions, or to share your experiences and the lessons you have learned. Please also submit questions or topics for future discussions to Associate Regional Editor Liz Mitchell at liz@patch.com and Regional Editor Michael Dinan at michaeld@patch.com. And, if you'd like to join our parent council, let us know!

Kate Thornton February 25, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Their is a huge responsibility on both sides... The welfare of minors is the responsibility of any guardian or official who oversees their day to day activities. Parents are merely guardians until children reach the age of 18, and during that time, their job is to govern and guide their minor children and teach them right from wrong. They do not own their children. The school administrators play just as important a role...they are government-appointed officials who have a responsibility to society to oversee and guide of the minor children in their care.
Erin E. Harrison February 25, 2011 at 05:41 PM
The responsibility for our children begins at home. Parents need to reach out to their kids about substance abuse early on - before they get to high school. School administrators can help drive home a positive message in schools - in addition to any school-imposed penalties for substance abuse during school hours, administrators have an obligation to help prevent these instances by keeping open lines of communication with teens, promoting a mutually respectful relationship between students and teachers...and ultimately taking a compassionate approach -- benevolence through leadership and positive affirmation whenever possible. Youth officers would encourage a peer-based program that gives kids a chance to take ownership over the issue and give them the opportunity to be part of the solution instead of the problem.
Andrew Brophy February 25, 2011 at 06:25 PM
It'd be interesting to know, from a legal perspective, whether a parent is liable if someone underage drinks in their home and gets into a car accident after leaving
Canaanite March 11, 2011 at 05:50 PM
My understanding is that the parent IS liable for drinking in their home . . .

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