Minnesota town holds parents responsible for underage drinking
Parents of teens in New London, Minn., had better lock up their liquor cabinets if they go on vacation without the kids. A new ordinance will hold parents responsible for underage drinking in their homes, even if the adults are not present when the offense occurs.
On Sept. 15, the New London City Council passed the Social Host Ordinance that aims “to discourage underage possession and consumption of alcohol, even if done within the confines of a private residence, and intends to hold persons criminally responsible who host events or gatherings where persons under 21 years of age possess or consume alcohol, regardless of whether the person hosting the event or gathering supplied the alcohol,” according to the ordinance. There are exceptions, such as when the conduct is strictly between a parent and underage child while in the parent’s home, or to alcohol consumption as part of any religious practice.
The ordinance also specifically states that the host of the party does not have to be present to be held criminally liable. “[If] the adults leave home without taking precautions against minor children getting into alcohol, they could be found guilty of a violation of the ordinance,” New London Mayor Bill Gossman told local television news station KSAX. Violating the ordinance would be a misdemeanor.
Download New London’s Social Host Ordinance.