I am a retired school teacher, and my husband is a high school coach here in the valley. We have worked with many valley kids over the years, and it has come to our attention lately that many of them (from Aspen to Glenwood) are attending parties at homes where alcohol is not only present, but purchased by parents.
We’re not sure if parents of other teens are aware that their 14- to 17-year-olds have such access. “Beer Pong” and other parties are condoned in several households. When the parties spiral out of control, police are summoned, but the homeowners do not let them in for fear of liability. And that liability is huge.
Serving or condoning alcohol consumption by teens under 18 in one’s home is a felony. Taking car keys away is not enough. Scared parents have called “party houses” to express concern, but the parties continue. Kids scatter when police arrive, climb into cars impaired, and then drive recklessly down steep mountain roads in winter conditions. There have already been a few dangerous car wrecks that have hospitalized, and could have killed, our kids this year alone.
Imagine living with the fact you contributed to the death of one of our beautiful teenagers. Please, parents, assume the role of parenting by not partying with your kids. Don’t leave your teens alone while you are away. Beware of teen “camping” while out of cell range in secluded campgrounds.
If writing this letter saves the life of one teenager, it is worth it. We have a 16-year-old ourselves. We love too many teenagers in this valley to lose even one. Parents, don’t buy, serve or condone alcohol consumption by teens. We don’t want to attend the funeral of a child.
Bruce and Melissa Matherly
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