With high school proms and graduations right around the corner, Fairfax County has a message for parents: if you host parties and give teenagers alcohol, you will be prosecuted.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, in partnership with the Fairfax County School Board, proclaimed May 2013 Parents Who Host, Lose the Most month this week.
Parents Who Host, Lose the Most is a campaign to raise public awareness for parents and other adults about the legal consequences of providing alcohol to minors. For the seventh year in a row, Fairfax County officials are taking part.
Supervisor Jeff McKay stressed the importance of the campaign and its message. Prom and graduation should be a joyous time, but underage drinking can too often lead to traffic accidents and other needless sadness, he said.
“There’s plenty of ways to celebrate prom and graduation without doing anything illegal,” Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee) said. “Too often we see instances of tragedy at a time when we should be celebrating the success of our youngsters.”
Supervisor John Cook (R-Braddock) wanted parents and adults to hear the message loud and clear to heartbreak.
“When parents are engaging in this conduct of sponsoring these alcoholic parties, not only are they failing to help the youth, but they are affirmatively engaging in criminal activity that’s dangerous to children,” he said. “That’s very serious.”
According to the 2011-2012 Fairfax County Youth Survey, 37.1 percent of high school seniors reported they had consumed alcohol in the last 30 days. Another 20.7 percent of seniors had engaged in binge drinking in the last two weeks.
The campaign also notes that 65 percent of underage youth say they get booze from family or friends.
“When parents do this, it is so irresponsible that there is nothing but the most harsh condemnation we can make on this activity,” Cook said.
Parents and county residents are urged to report parties with underage drinking by calling the police department’s non-emergency number, 703-691-2131.