Officials Encourage Parents to Combat Underage Drinking
Parents learn practical steps they can take to keep their kids safe.
Soaking tampons in alcohol so the substance isn’t detectable on someone’s breath. Putting hard candies in a bowl with vodka for a day or two so they absorb vodka.
Those are some of the more inventive techniques kids are using to consume alcohol.
Administrators at Wayne Valley High School spoke to about 30 parents Wednesday about the prevalence and dangers of alcohol use at the school.
Principal Robert Reis said parents need to be proactive when it comes to battling underage drinking.
“You do not have to be your kids’ best friend. They have plenty of friends,” Reis said. “They need someone to be tough and they may hate it, but that’s what they need.”
Asking children question about their friends or where exactly they’re going. Meeting the parents who are hosting a party on a Friday or Saturday night. Calling kids after they’ve been dropped off just to check in with them. Those are things, Reis said, parents can and should do on a regular basis to ensure their kids are safe and being smart.
Reis said if parents know of something going on, a party at someone’s house, call the school and let him or Mark Dubois and Mike Zaccone, Wayne police officers and the school resource officers at Wayne Hills High School and Wayne Valley, respectively.
“I don’t even want your name. I just want the information,” Reis said. “We can stop so many things before they happen.”
Officials said they regularly hear of planned parties scheduled for the weekend or hear of parties where students were drinking and an incident occurred, such as a fight or a lover’s spat.
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed,” Reis said. “When there’s an argument at a party, it finds its way to school.”
Dubois said that the police cannot legislate good behavior and cannot prosecute a “moral wrong.” He encouraged parents to contact the police if they know underage drinking is happening at someone’s house.
“You can’t legislate good parenting,” Dubois said.
Parents watched a movie called “Stoned Cold,” a film about the dangers about the possible consequences of what can happen when teenagers and young adults drink. The film shows what happens when three underage drinkers drive after a party late one night. An innocent bystander and a passenger are killed when the driver loses control of the vehicle. The driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Mahnoor Waseem, a Wayne Valley student, gave a short presentation about an initiative a team of students at the school is participating in called U Got Brains, a statewide contest designed to teach others about driver safety.
The team has designed a campaign around the slogan of “Click it Fast, Make it Last” to encourage students, and older residents, to buckle their seat belts.
“From a student’s perspective, we’re told not to do a lot of things and there’s a lot of temptation out there for us, but with this, there shouldn’t be any temptation,” Waseem said. “It’s just something that we have to do.”
Editor's note: Robert Reis, Mark Dubois, and Mike Zaccone encourage residents to contact them if they know that underage drinking is occurring. Reis can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com. Dubois' phone number is 973-317-2051. Zaccone's phone number is 973-317-2207.