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Parents reminded to keep graduation parties safe for teens

Sara Bowles

Parents are being encouraged to take alcohol and other dangers out of the picture during graduation celebrations in the next few weeks.

The Hubbard County Youth Drug and Alcohol Taskforce, Hubbard County Attorney's Office and Hubbard County Sheriff's Office have joined forces to get the message out to parents.

Alcohol and other drugs have been associated with an increase in accidents and fatalities during the weeks before and after graduation, said Sara Bowles, Hubbard County Youth Drug and Alcohol Task Force chemical health coordinator.

"The area liquor stores are on board with promoting our efforts," she said.

The schools are also spreading the word.

Hubbard County passed a Social Host Ordinance last fall making it not only illegal to provide alcohol to an underage individual, but also to knowingly host those individuals who are consuming alcohol. This ordinance carries a $1,000 fine, up to 90 days in jail or both.

A host is defined as a person or persons who knowingly aids, conducts, allows, entertains, organizes, supervises, controls or permits a gathering or event where minor individuals are drinking alcohol. The ordinance can be accessed on the Hubbard County website at

In addition, the department offers some tips to make celebrating graduation a successful and safe event for all:

n Limit your guest list. Avoid having an "open" party where anyone is welcome to just drop by.

n Host an afternoon or early evening party and have a clear starting and ending time for the event.

n Let parents of other graduates know you will be actively supervising the party and that you welcome phone calls from them.

n Be clear with your graduate and other underage guests on what is acceptable behavior including no alcohol, drugs, tobacco, etc.

n If a youth arrives under the influence of alcohol or drugs, call the parents and get them home safely.

n Secure all alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter medications, guns and other items that may pose danger if accessed by others.

n Know your teen's schedule for the evening, who they will be with and who will be driving. Keep in contact with them during the evening by calling or texting them. And offer to be available if they need you if they end up in a possible dangerous situation, no questions asked.

For more information, contact Bowles at252-8275 or

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561