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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 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 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 , 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 rreis@wayneschools.com. Dubois' phone number is 973-317-2051. Zaccone's phone number is 973-317-2207.

fboy1932 March 23, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Good for you Mr. Reis its about time someone stood up. But! not enough drug testing is done. There are many isolated instances specially at Wayne Hills where top favorite students are over looked when it comes to drug testing. Steroids is a big thing now at Hills from what I have herd, maybe its true? maybe its wrong? but I still believe more testing is needed. Now I strongly believe that employees of the WBOE should also be tested including steroids. There are just as many employees I bet than students that have drug related issues. As a parent I would like to know that my child is safe in school with his or hers teacher. Has anyone ever hear of a teacher being drug tested? Am I wrong for how I feel?
Justin March 23, 2012 at 02:30 AM
As usual, it's Reis who stands up and says what has to be said.
Rich March 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Dubois said that the police cannot legislate good behavior and cannot prosecute a “moral wrong.” Not to be a PITA, but isn't underage drinking already legislated against???? How about the State of NJ, start increasing the penalties for those who supply liquor to underage kids. How are 16 and 17 yr old, getting something you need to be 21 to get. I know in many instances the booze is being taken from their own houses, but what is truly an abomination and is not brought up here, the parents who look the other way. They are so caught up with their kid's popularity, they are in fact the biggest contributors to this. Once again the privileged population of Wayne doesn't want to follow rules and laws, they want their kids to hit all the parties and fill up their Facebook, with beer pong photos. Pretty much a disgrace. Until parents in my age group decide to actually parent this will continue to be a problem.
Albert March 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Rich, althoug I agree with almost everything you said. Kids being privileged or them being from Wayne has nothing to do with it. Same thing happens in every town and from low class, to middle class to high class. Certainly this is a HUGE problem. and you are right, parents look the other way and sadly, not only with the drinking. Also with the pot smoking and steroid use. We know parents of kids that were caught drinking, some that were caught smoking pot, and some that even know their kids use or have used steroids. And the brush it off like it is no big deal, it is high scholl kids being kids. The parents really need to be held accountable.
John Paul March 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Reis's message is so clear...."Do not be your children's best friend, they have enough best freinds. Be their parents"
maryanne March 23, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Mr. Reis is again on the mark. Bless you!
ELka March 23, 2012 at 01:25 PM
This is a huge problem in Wayne. Parents are allowing it. The parents are the problem. Sleepovers are used as excuses to roam the streets and move from house to house. How could all of these parents leave the house for the weekend unattended and let the kids run wild? It is the parents. Parents, if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. There is no middle ground on this. Underage is underage. Parents are drinking and drugging and they don't care.
Al Scala March 23, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Reis has always been a stand up guy. He's not afraid to speak his mind and does not back down to the Administration. Frankly, we could use more like him here in Wayne.
This was a powerful program and the Wayne Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse is proud to support programs like this one. "Friendly" parents need to know the damage drinking causes to the underage brain. So,the legal age of 21 provides valid safety to young adults as well. There is no safe way to permit drinking before the brain is developed. Concerned parents are welcome to join us as we campaign for healthy lifestyles. Contact:alliance@waynetownship.com or 973-694-1800 x3244
Rich March 23, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Albert, you are absolutely right about the Privileged kids thing, I should have been more clear, I was really referring to the Parents in this case. We all live here and pay a fortune in taxes because we believe it is worth it. Safety, Education, etc. My point is that there are a lot of folks (ashamed to admit, some people I am friendly with ), who pose as upper middle class, conservative citizens, but not when it applies to them. Elka's comment below is fairly accurate. If the Parents are doing it, I am guessing they think it's ok if the kids do too.
Scondo March 23, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Very valid point regarding sleepovers. License to roam. Sleepovers should end when the kid turns 12, then they should be home in their own bed all the time. Hey, I know , I got the 2 AM call one time to come down and pick up at the PD too.
Cathy Kazan March 23, 2012 at 04:46 PM
You are absolutely right Robbin. Education and awareness are key to fighting these problems. There will always be teens attempting risky behavior. We need to educate each new generation and their parents. Keep up the good work. Kudos to Mr. Reis as well. He always fights for the best interests of his students.

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