Drinking grads

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Every year as commencement season rolls around, there are news stories about celebrations featuring alcoholic beverages for high school graduates and their friends who are under the legal drinking age of 21. Sometimes parents provide the beer and wine. (In Missouri, parents are permitted to provide alcoholic beverages only for their own children.) Sometimes parents "supervise" the party, but underage guests bring their own refreshments.

Those who endorse these parties say they are providing a safe environment for teenagers. They are going to drink, the adults reason, so they might as well do it in a controlled setting.

Other parents, however, provide celebratory options for their teenage children and their friends that don't break the law. Nor do they set an example that it's OK to flout the law.

Graduation from high school is a rite of passage, but it is not the gateway to adulthood. Today's laws regarding the consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages reflects society's concern that 18-year-olds aren't equipped to make the best choices in these matters. And parents should not pick and choose which laws they want to obey.

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