The public service announcement video recorded last month by Gloucester police, firefighters and local teenagers delivers an important message about teen drinking. That's a point to keep in mind, especially with Rockport High School's prom kicking off the prom season tonight..
But, as Healthy Gloucester Collaborative Director Joan Whitney and others noted in their Thursday letter in the Times, 66 percent of high school students who drink say they have obtained alcohol from "non-parent adults." And those who think serving alcohol to their adolescent children and their friends is no big deal should have gotten an ever bigger wakeup call last week when a Beverly mother found guilty of doing just that in Salem District Court was sentenced to six months in jail.
The case involved an October 2010 Halloween birthday party at which alcohol was consumed by ninth- and 10-graders, one of whom ended up in the hospital where she was treated for acute intoxication.
A Salem District Court jury found 37-year-old Tiffany Clark's protestations of innocence regarding her involvement in the party — hosted by her then 15-year-old daughter — not credible and convicted her of furnishing alcohol to minors. As Judge Robert Brennan, himself the father of teenagers, told Clark, "As a community, (we) rely on other adults to behave responsibly and to look our for our kids. ... We don't expect parents to create a situation where kids can come into harm."
Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, whose office prosecuted the case, has repeatedly warned that adults who take on the responsibility of raising children must act as parents first, and friends second.
Parents across Cape Ann and throughout the county should keep Clark in mind this weekend and in the weeks ahead if they even think for a second that letting kids drink is OK.