A coalition that includes parents, police, educators, health workers and youth-and-social service groups is about to get some bite in their battle with adults who think it's no big deal to provide alcohol to minors.
Tempe, Arizona's new "social-host" ordinance, which goes into effect in February will force parents or adults who host unlawful gatherings where alcohol is served to minors to take a substance-education class or face a $250 fine.
State law makes it a misdemeanor for an adult to serve alcohol to anyone under the legal drinking age unless they are members of your immediate family or live with you.
Arizona is known for being somewhat abrupt and some might say, outwardly offensive, in their laws. This is no different, but I think it is a good idea.
Tempe wants to hold parents and immediate family members accountable. So they will charge parents a fee to cover the cost of police services used when reporting to the unlawful gathering even if parents are serving alcohol to their kids.
This ordinance is needed because it has become increasingly common for parents or adult family members to host parties where alcohol is served. The justification often is that teens are going to drink anyway so they might as well drink at home with friends, she said.
Especially around prom or graduation, parents often feel it's safer to host these parties because they think I'm going to lock up their (kid's) keys so they won't go anywhere. But what they don't know is how much we've learned about brain development and addiction. Yes it may be safer in terms of drinking and driving but it may not be safer when you look at the long-term effects.
Tempe officials insist the ordinance is not meant to punish, it's meant to educate.
The class is $100 compared with the $250 fine. However, the class is not an option on subsequent offenses. A second offense is $1,000 and $1,500 for each subsequent offense.
What do you think, is it a good idea? It sucks when you have to make laws to force parents to do their job, but maybe it has to be.