Superintendent Reminds Parents About Social Host Law

A reminder on the state's social host laws and holding parties with underaged drinking.

The following is a letter from North Kingstown Superintendent Phil Auger to families and parents in town.

Dear Parents and Guardians,

In light of the recent social hosting matters in the news, I thought it might be a good time to resend this message regarding underage drinking parties and the social host law, as it is still relevant.

Recent incidences of parties involving underage alcohol use have compelled the prevention and enforcement entities in Rhode Island to create the following statement to address steps parents can take to prevent future tragedies. We all have a role to play in keeping our youth safe and healthy.

Hosting a safe party for youths is more complicated than in years past. Parties communicated via social media can grow large and unmanageable in a short period of time. All parents need to be armed with the facts to ensure safe gatherings.

For teens that choose to use illegal substances, the consequences go far beyond fatal car crashes. Unintended or unwelcome sexual activity, verbal and physical violence, vandalism, and suicide all occur more frequently when illegal substances impair a youth’s brain. Alcohol poisoning and drug overdose can have fatal consequences. Furthermore, the earlier youths begin using alcohol or other drugs, the more likely they are to become dependent or addicted.

What adults say and do does matter. Two thirds of youth ages 13-17 say losing their parents’ respect is one of the main reasons they don’t use illegal substances. Furthermore, youths who believe that their parents would strongly disapprove of youth drug use have rates of use that are 80% lower than those whose parents would not strongly disapprove.

Before your youth hosts a gathering or party, please be aware of the following to protect yourself and what you value. See the attached list for further guidance.

■ RI law prohibits adults from knowingly permitting anyone under 21 from consuming alcohol on his/her property. Penalties include fines up to $1000, community service and jail time.

■ If you become aware that minors are consuming alcohol, using marijuana or have other illegal drugs on your property, call the police to report this illegal activity. Likewise, if you hear of a party to take place that will involve these activities, call the police. If you wait or don’t call the police, you may be responsible for the consequences, which could include legal charges, loss of life, property damage or any of the other tragic outcomes mentioned above that can result from underage alcohol and other drug use.

■ Secure all alcohol, over the counter and prescription drugs before the party starts. Most youth get alcohol and prescription drugs from their own homes. Don’t make it easy for youth to obtain substances that are illegal and harmful to them.

By working together, we can all help to insure that our children stay safe and healthy.

Phil Auger, Ph.D.

Superintendent of North Kingstown Schools

100 Fairway Drive

North Kingstown, RI   02852


Politics Sheriff of NK February 14, 2014 at 04:17 PM
this is very helpful.
NK Parent February 14, 2014 at 07:30 PM
You would think a lawyer would know all this. Good thing she had *no idea* that all this was going on under her roof.
underwhelmed February 14, 2014 at 09:16 PM
Mr. Auger I applaud your effort to reiterate what has been articulated many times before by others in positions such as yours. Chief LaCross of Barrington comes to mind as being in the forefront for obvious reasons. The question is whether or not the parental and societal ears across the state are open to the conversation. Whether or not the need to be a "friend/buddy" overrides the implementation of parental or societal authority to the detriment of the child and possibly innocent others. We have witnessed multiple examples of the horrific results of not wanting to "put the foot down", to implement parental authority and say no, not in my house! So the question becomes why is it that in certain circumstances the sky is the limit, anything goes, regardless of the consequences. Is it that we have become a society/parent where it is more important to go along, rather than being the person that we are entrusted to be? The person that has the daunting responsibility to guide the child, to lead by example and not be a permissive doormat for the next good time. This may be seen as harsh by some. The harshness is in the reality of the results as we have all seen numerous times. We cannot legislate, dictate or pontificate to a single parent or child. We can only hope that the pendulum of reason and good sense will swing toward the tipping point where our society once again values doing the "right" thing for the well being of every child and innocent bystander. It would seem sometimes that hope is the only constant, a fleeting cloud to be blown away by another senseless tragedy. Hope, the never ending and elusive deity which drives the very existence of so much in life, hope, we can always cling to its elusiveness.


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