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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Published: Monday, 11/11/2002

A call to mom and dad

Some Bowling Green State University students are offended that city police are going to start informing their parents about drinking offenses, and what nuisances they have made of themselves. Tough!

They argue that they are of age at 18, though the legal drinking age is 21. But childish behavior doesn't warrant treatment as adults.

Doubtless the rowdy party animals who carouse on their lawns, who urinate on walls and fences of businesses and residences, who toss their empties on people's lawns, who drive drunk and are otherwise obnoxious, are in the minority. At least we hope so.

Nor do we assume for a moment that such problems are unique to BGSU. The University of Toledo has had to cope with similar off-campus rowdiness.

But that minority has constituted a public nuisance of some magnitude, one seemingly immune to $100 fines, warnings, or university censure. Given that most of the time their parents are paying their bills - the tuition as well as the car insurance - there is no good reason to keep the significant adults out of the loop, and plenty of reason to include them.

Being in college does not automatically confer a status of wisdom and maturity. It does not immediately make a teen a responsible adult. While some in our society argue that parents are paramount in the supervision of their children, they can't supervise what they can't see. They must rely on those who do see to keep them informed.

The Bowling Green approach was adapted from one in Kent, Ohio. It, too, has a state university and similar problems. There police have found that putting parents into the behavioral supervision loop indeed makes a difference.

Whether or not parents know it, the children are shaming their families as well as themselves. They may also be stimulating hikes in family car insurance rates that will catch mom and dad by surprise and could be big enough to hurt.

The notifications are a good thing and should be continued. Police in every other college town who cope with the same problem owe it to themselves and to the college students to follow suit.

Sometimes it really does take a village to raise a young adult.



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