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Social host law will help stop teen drinking | Island Forum: Students speak out
Recently the Mercer Island police issued the first citation under the city’s new Social Host Ordinance. This became a controversial development in our community. However, as two high school students on the Island, we would like to express our positive support of this legislation. First of all, this ordinance acts as an encouragement for parents to be more aware of the activities occurring on their property, particularly when they are not at home. We have already seen this ordinance spark discussion between parents and students on the subject of alcohol consumption. We hope that it will continue to be a catalyst for these conversations.
We want all parents to be aware of the pressures felt by their children in social situations in which alcohol is present. In order to eliminate these pressures we need not just a few parents on board, but all parents to be involved and active in talking to their children, creating deterrents, and setting limits on social behaviors. For this vision to be successful, we need a community-wide effort to create positive social settings without alcohol.
However, the pressures do not just fall on the parents; students need to be involved and informed as well. Our community offers many ways to get informed in order to get involved. At the high school, the recently formed MATTERS club offers a gateway toward active involvement in the community, informing peers on the dangers of drug and alcohol use. In both the elementary schools and the middle school, there are programs that encourage students to stay alcohol free. Students have a responsibility to their health, their peers, and their parents, and the hope is that with this ordinance in effect, that responsibility will be more widely encouraged by the community and parents.
Cristina Scalzo and Kaya McRuer