As high school graduation ceremonies near and friends gather to celebrate, parents are encouraged to know their responsibility to provide a safe environment for their graduate. Parents tempted to permit the use of alcohol by their graduate and friends can be subject to criminal and/or civil action for illegally providing alcohol to minors.
According to Georgia law, parents cannot give alcohol to their teen’s friends who are under age 21, under any circumstances. However, Georgia law states parents can allow their own child to consume alcohol under their direct supervision and in their own home.
Under these parental exceptions, should a child drink to intoxication and cause harm to another after leaving their home, parents can be held liable. A violator may face up to $1,000 and/or 12 months confinement for a first offense, under Georgia state law.
The sobering facts about underage drinking: a recent survey of 12th grade students showed the following:
- 30 percent drink alcohol and 18 percent binge drink
- 73 percent reported that it is easy to obtain alcohol
- 54 percent use alcohol at a friend’s house
(Source: Georgia Student Health Survey II, 2012 Cobb results)
Statistics from the Department of Transportation indicate that an average of 48 teens are killed and 5,202 are injured in car crashes during a typical Spring Prom or Graduation weekend.
Parents are encouraged to consider the following this graduation season:
- Refuse to supply alcohol to minors in your home or on your property
- Be at home and visible if/when teens have a party in your home
- Talk to other adults about not providing alcohol at events where minors will be present
- Call your local police department to report underage drinking parties in order to keep our youth safe
To learn more, visit the Cobb Alcohol Taskforce website at www.cobbat.org or contact Cathy Finck, Coordinator, 404-791-7406.