Sugarland Roundup

June 17th, 2005

Over in Sugarland recently, the police responded to a noisy party call and found a house full of teenagers and booze. It’s been in the news here because the police issued citations to everyone there, without trying to determine which kids had been drinking and which hadn’t. One mother challenged the police to give her daughter a sobriety test to demonstrate that the girl hadn’t been drinking. The police refused.

A local blogger has put forth the question:

If your son or daughter had been at this party, and swore to you afterwards that he or she had not had anything to drink, would you agree that he or she deserved to be ticketed and to lose extracurricular privileges as a result?

This parent sees two different issues there. First, the police behaved irresponsibly by simply issuing citations to all without trying to determine who had been drinking. In this situation I would fight the ticket on the grounds that there was no evidence of guilt.

The other issue, though, would mean loss of privileges. My daughters know they are not to even hang around where alcohol is being consumed and no responsible adults are present to supervise. They know they are not to hang around where drugs are being used, period. (And if there was any doubt, Summer and Bryn, let there be no doubt now.) Breaking these rules would indeed result in loss of privileges. Period. End of story.

Update: I may have misinterpreted the Kuff’s question. His reference to extracurricular activities is probably the school-sponsored activities mentioned in the article:

Woodring and other parents are also angry because those who received citations were not allowed to take part in extracurricular activities at school.

So we’re really dealing with three sets of rules here: family rules, school rules, and the law. In the latter two cases, the treatment the teens are receiving is unfair in the extreme. The standard here is simply guilt by association; I guess “Innocent until proven guilty” would have been inconvenient for the Sugarland Police. The school’s punishment smells of a “Zero Tolerance” policy; “Zero Judgment” would be a better description.

My stance on the issue of family rules, though, does not change. Good parents have to have higher standards than the minimum required by schools or the law, and they have to enforce their rules with appropriate punishments. In a case like this, my child would find herself grounded for a long time. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, kids. It’s that simple.

(But you know what: I think my girls have better judgment than to hang around booze or drugs in any case. I think either one of them would make the right decision and would not stick around at a party like the one that took place in Sugarland. That’s a vote of confidence, girls. Don’t let me down.)

7 Responses to “Sugarland Roundup”

  1. Leigh Ann Says:

    I, too, would have fought the charges on lack of evidence. Guilt by association? I think not. What about the parent who requested a sobriety test for her daughter and was refused. Why? I am the first one to stand up for my kids when the are unjustly accused, but also the first to punish them when they are guilty.

    Schools these days are way over-stepping their rights. Recently, an incident happened in our community involving a group of boys and a teacher. The boys rolled the teacher’s yard, and the teacher figured out the identity of one of the culprits. How? By a inadvertent calling card left at the scene. A painted sign was left in the yard, and the teacher recognized the handwriting of of the author. The teacher called the home of the boy and spoke with his mother. The boy admitted to doing the deed and apologized. Everything was worked out satisfactorily between the parties.

    So, what happened? The principal found out about the rolling incident and the identity of the boy. Through association and questioning, she also found out the identity of the accomplices. She didn’t find any of this out from the victim of the rolling, but from a third-party. When asked, all boys admitted their guilt. These boys are very well-behaved, AB students who never cause ‘real’ trouble.

    What did the principal feel compelled to do? She placed the boys in ISS (in-house suspension) and denied them attendance to an out-of-town trip that had been pre-planned and pre-paid (to the tune of about 100.00). She tried to convince the teacher to press charges with the law ( which the teacher wouldn’t do). Where does the principal have the authority to disciplin the boys in an incident that didn’t happen on school property and didn’t happen at a school-sponsored event? Is this right? Is this fair?

    Had my son or daughter been involved in this, I would have fought tooth and nail for their rights at citizens and then punished them at home. I feel the principal definitely overstepped her rights. Of course my son always asks my permission before he goes rolling, and guess what — I give it to him!

  2. SUMMERT Says:

    okay, What happens outside of school should stay there. Once these kids have left the care of the teachers and principals, they shouldn’t be able to punish them for what they’ve done out of school. That should be up to the parents. And instead of giving them ISS or D-Hall or whatever the school hands out, they need to just give it to the police to deal with,(if it’s necessary) as if the kids wern’t their students, or just flat-out strangers.

    Yeah, this is way over the rights that this lady has. Besides, they could have done A LOT worse that just wrapping ( or rolling) this dude’s house. if they had poored KOOL-AID on the guys yard and driveway before a rainy night….oh boy…

  3. SUMMERT Says:

    oh yeah, they only reason those cop dudes wouldn’t give the chick the sobriety test is beacause they were money hungry brats who were just looking for reasons to hand out tickets so they could rob people of their money for somthing they didn’t do.

  4. Leigh Ann Says:

    Summer — thank you for your post from a teenager’s point-of-view. Your view doesn’t differ much from mine, and I’m glad to see it! I would LOVE to hear your father’s reaction to this post and to your reply! (What happens with the kool-aid before it rains???)

  5. SUMMERT Says:

    Well, after it rains it turns ( or it’s supposed to) the grass whatever the colour of the kool-aid was, but I don’t know how well it works.

  6. Jim Says:

    I doubt that money is the reason those cops gave out all those tickets. More likely they just weren’t interested in taking the trouble to figure out who was drinking and who wasn’t. Why bother when it’s easier to just write tickets for everybody?

  7. SUMMERT Says:

    no it’s not the main reason, but the more moolah they bring ing, the more taser guns they can buy and the more criminals they cam elecrticute