To the Editor:
On Sept. 7, the Cranford Chronicle reported on a party on Denman Rd that occurred over Labor Day Weekend. (See the Cranford Patch version of the story here). Many Cranford High School students were present, and many of them were consuming alcohol. When a fist fight broke out, the police responded and arrested 26 students. One student was taken to the hospital for stitches.
The Cranford Board of Education urges parents to consider the following points about allowing students to consume alcohol in their house.
- It is illegal. If you are caught, not only will your name be in the paper, but the children who are arrested in your home can face long-lasting legal consequences.
- It is dangerous, large crowds of kids drinking large amounts of alcohol is fertile ground for accidents and/or bad decisions. Fights, falls, car accidents, and unhealthy/ unlawful sexual behavior can occur even under the careful watch of the most well-intentioned party host. Those of us who survived our own teenage years probably witnessed some outrageous behavior at high school parties. What seems like a good idea to a 17 year old after five or six beers can be shocking to see.
- It can quickly get out of control — Thanks to modern technology, today's students communicate better, faster, and more often than their parents do. You might give permission for a few friends to come over, but you might soon find fifty teens in your basement once word of the party has hit Twitter.
- It is NOT the norm. If you do not approve of underage drinking, you are among the majority of parents. We encourage you to talk to your friends about this issue to build support and consensus, so that others know where you stand. If your child is going over to a friend's house for the evening, we urge you to call the parents and ask if they will be home. Ask also if alcohol will be present. Make it clear to the parent that you do not allow your underage child to drink alcoholic beverages.
- It is irresponsible. Regardless of how you might rationalize the decision to allow your own child to drink, you do not have the right to impose that point of view on other parents. When you allow someone's child to come into your house and consume alcohol, you undermine the efforts of another parent, and place that child, and others who are in proximity to that child, in danger.
- Consuming alcohol is damaging to your child's brain. Research shows that your child's brain is growing until his/her early 20s. It also shows that alcohol consumption can destroy brain cells that will not rejuvenate.
The Cranford Board of Education is committed to working collaboratively with parents and all members of the community to ensure that our students have a safe, productive, happy and successful early adulthood. To this end, Cranford Schools hosts a Joint Action Committee on Underage Substance Abuse whose mission is to design and implement a public awareness campaign regarding the dangers and repercussions of engaging in underage illegal behaviors. Representatives on the committee include K-12 educators of Cranford Public Schools, members of the Cranford Board of Education, Cranford Police, county law enforcement, the Clergy Council, the Municipal Alliance, the Chamber of Commerce, the Juvenile Conference Committee, the Cranford Parent Teacher Council, and Cranford parents. The mission: ONE TOWN, ONE MESSAGE. We need to work together to keep our children safe and sober.
The Cranford Board of Education