Police: Parents Arrested After Adult-Sanctioned Underage Drinking Party Gets Out Of Hand
BREEZY POINT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Parents, teens and alcohol. Is it a recipe for disaster?
A Long Island couple is facing dozens of charges after police said they threw a wild booze-fest for teenagers.
The arrests have some people asking if it's better to supervise your child's drinking.
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According to the NYPD, the weekend party spread from the sand to Beach 220th Street in the private Rockaway enclave of Breezy Point. There, 43 private school students partied into the night under the watchful eye of the adult homeowners.
Neighbors called to complain about underage boozing. That led to the arrest of parents Anthony and Claire Reyes. They were charged with unlawfully dealing with children. They didn't want to answer questions from CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan on Tuesday, and the neighborhood's private security force asked CBS 2 to leave.
Police said two 16-year-olds were taken to a local hospital to be treated for alcohol abuse.
The arrests have aroused intense debate, with some parents calling underage drinking a "monumental" problem and others throwing up their hands and wondering how the activity can be controlled.
"They're going to go out and sneak it anyway, so do it in the home," one parent said.
"There's a huge liability," another responded.
In the last few years there have been dozens of social host arrests on Long Island, including in Bayville, East Williston, Dix Hills and Seaford.
"When you're drunk, things that you would never do, you might end up doing," Doreen Ciappa said.
The Ciappas of Massapequa lost their teen daughter, Natalie, to a drug overdose at an adult-sanctioned party.
"I understand the feeling, that if they are under your roof less is going to go wrong, but you still can't control that," Vic Ciappa said.
Jeffrey Reynolds, of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism, counsels teens and their parents on this controversial issue.
"Parents say to me 'look, I know my kids are going to drink. I'd rather they do it under my roof than out on the street somewhere.' My big question to them is why are you willing to concede that? If you are willing to concede that is it marijuana tomorrow? And then prescription pills?" Reynolds said.
Experts say be a parent, not a friend. Enabling underage drinking is illegal, with dangerous consequences.
Many educators and parents said they are working together to convince teens that binge drinking in high school and college is not an acceptable rite of passage.
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