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Parents Allowing Underage Drinking

Parents Who Let Kids Drink at Home Could Go to Jail

Are you planning on having an end-of-school party for your teen? If you do, just be absolutely sure there's no underage drinking, or you could wind up in jail or pay hefty fines, as a Maine couple recently discovered.

Keep reading.

Paula and Barry Spencer from Falmouth, ME, agreed to host a celebration for their 18-year-old son's high school baseball team after it won the state championships. They set ground rules of no more than 50 guests, and no drinking or drugs, ABC News/Good Morning America reports.

Barry said he checked kids at the door to their house, to make sure there was no malfeasance. But as the party went on, it grew in size and the Spencers lost control of it.


According to ABC News, "By 11 p.m. police checked on the party, which had ballooned to around 100 rowdy teens, some of whom had snuck in alcohol and many of whom were now openly drinking." Alcohol containers were scattered around, and police said they would have arrested the Spencers on the spot for violating "social hosting" laws, except that some teens were intoxicated and unable to leave the home.

Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson was determined that the Spencers go to jail for "not taking appropriate steps to prevent [the underage drinking at the party]," even if they didn't purchase the alcohol, the news agency reports. But the case ended in a mistrial. So instead of serving jail time, the Spencers settled the case for $17,000, writing a letter to the local newspaper, and each serving 100 hours of community service.

The lesson learned: the Spencers said the next time they would make sure to have enough other parents around to help police a teen party.

Do you think their punishment was fair?

Image Source: Shutterstock
Join The Conversation
Drea0223 Drea0223 4 years
( I messed up somehow and sent my first comment through before I finished) I was saying that my mom is from the baby boomer generation and her high school party's had beer at them...Somehow everyone made it through. Now because of lawsuits and helicopter parents everyone walks around in fear! How about some personal responsibility??? Those young adults should have had to do some community service for sneaking in the booze, just to teach them a lesson. however the parents of the 18 yr old should NOT be held responsible for what those 18 yr olds did at a party on their property!
Drea0223 Drea0223 4 years
This is silly. Our society looks really pathetic to the rest of the world. Besides the fact an 18 year old can sign up to go die for their country, but they can't buy a beer? That's not the point though... I feel like were going overboard as a society. We give our kids Prozac, send them to shrinks, and make everything such a big deal. When I was 18 it was pretty much a given that any party we went to would have some sort of Alcohol there. Somehow we all managed to come through our teens unscathed. My Mother is a baby boomer and f
JulieDillon JulieDillon 4 years
Why is this news to people? It's always been the law in California. Not sure about other states, but it does not take a rocket scientist to understand an adult is responsible by law for a minor...period.
PeggyHarperLee PeggyHarperLee 4 years
Kids who drink or use as teens are more likely to be dependent as an adult. Additionally, drinking or using as a teen can alter normal development, emotionally and physically. You might justify teen drinking by telling yourself, "at least I'm keeping him/her safe," but you can't repair the damage. This is a tough issue for parents. We need to start talking about drugs and alcohol early, stay vigilant about where our kids are, and make it clear to them that it won't be tolerated. Just ask a parent who has lost a child to drugs or alcohol what they would do differently if they could...
Cheryls14627813 Cheryls14627813 4 years
I agreed with the other person about being a parent not a friend. Until my son turned 18. I feel a heck of a lot better knowing that my son is at home with his friends instead if driving home from somewhere else. Not that I'm saying I like it, so I definitely wount buy it for him, but I remember drinking before I was 21 and I know he'll do it whether I let him or not. I'm glad to know that he isn't driving.
ursulariches ursulariches 4 years
In UK 18 is the legal age for being allowed to drink. Children can drink at home like the French do with a glass of wine or beer with meals. In pubs, the landlord is entitled to block or allow under 18s a drink with their meal if accompanied by their parents. Drinking a beer or two some evenings and having wine with some meals with parents is a good way to prevent drink from being abused. Unfortunately a lot of children seem to get away with having drink UNSUPERVISED buy their parents. Sometimes girlfriends are a civilising factor here and sometimes they are worse than the boys. Binge drinking in UK is quite an epidemic for some.
missnanny missnanny 4 years
Parents - God made you parents, not their friends. What kind of precedence are you setting when you allow this. Re-think it.
Colleen14615670 Colleen14615670 4 years
We always have parties at my place & after everyone was of age even before there was drinking but only those of age. One of the parties some of the kids friends showed up with already drunk underage kids. I never found out until after the fact. My kids very quickly asked them to vacate the area. No underage drinkers or drunks. Even if they came here drunk they felt it would have been our problem if anything happened. I was very proud that my kids police the parties themselves. Also those of age - if no none drinker to drive, they stay overnight. We take the keys at the door. The positive side they may have been drinking but because they cannot drive home they love to help clean up and respect us & our house for allowing them to have fun.
barbarast59 barbarast59 4 years
I believe the parent did everything in their power to be responsible. This time the kids should take the hit including their own. The disrespect shown to the parents was immense. The sons should have stood up to their drinking friends ad dispersed everyone. The kids found drinking should have been arrested and ticketed. The only thing the parents could have done differently was call the police themselves.
MichelleTeeter64027 MichelleTeeter64027 4 years
If my kids goes to a party and say takes alcohol or steals it from the host, MY kids are the ones that are in trouble. IF the host provides it TO them it is the hosts that should be punished. If my kid were one that was drinking I would make him put money toward the fine and put in his own service.
MarshaMais MarshaMais 4 years
Yup. If the parents were checking at the door, they should have immediately been able to realize that there were too many kids and that alcohol got snuck in. Once they realized it was getting out of hand they should have sent these kids home immediately. I don't pity these parents at all.
f4113n4ng31 f4113n4ng31 4 years
I think that the title is misleading because the parents did not intentionally let the kids drink at the party. The teens acted as teens do and broke the rules. I also do not think that punishing the parents for what other kids brought is inappropriate. If anything, punish the teens drinking seeing as they are around 18 and know the laws of their state, as well as the parents of the ones that brought the alcohol if they are under the age of 18. I am 24 years old and know for a fact that whether permission was given or not, teens will find a way to do what they want.
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