The stabilizing factor

Parents shouldn't guide their children toward dangerous choices

Juvenile Judge Doug Flanagan went to Lakeside High School last week to warn the students against the dangers of prom and graduation season, including alcohol.

He apparently went to the wrong place.

He needed to address that message to the parents.

One Columbia County parent, Rachael Sheree Arrington, 42, was arrested, and two dozen students cited, when sheriff’s officers discovered gratuitous alcohol consumption at an after-prom party in her house.

“When deputies arrived at the house, they saw several teenagers drinking in the driveway,” according to a Chronicle reporter.

This, at 1 a.m. Saturday.

Pointedly, the judge notes that no one reported seeing taxi cabs nearby – meaning some teens surely were left to drink and drive.

“Sometimes you wonder if the children are not smarter than the parents,” Flanagan told us Monday. “I’m concerned when adults don’t act like adults. Parents are supposed to be the stabilizing factor.”

On Monday, reports surfaced of another minors-and-alcohol bust in the wee hours Sunday, after the Greenbrier High prom.

Allowing alcohol use at a party for minors, besides being illegal and patently boneheaded, is also a monumental slap in the face to the parent of every student there – parents who, in many cases, do the right things, who bring their kids up to be safe and smart. Then they’ve got some other parent throwing the door open to foolish, dangerous choices like this?

How dare anyone meddle with another parent’s child that way!

“You can’t be your child’s friend,” Flanagan says. “You’re not supposed to be. You’re the parent.”

And besides: In some cases, we’re talking about the kind of friend most parents tell their kids to steer clear of.

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