Graduation Season Brings Annual Spike in Underage Drinking Citat - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Graduation Season Brings Annual Spike in Underage Drinking Citations

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Along with graduation also comes the season for graduation parties. Police say each summer, it brings a spike in underage drinking.

"I've been here 16 years and every summer we see many underage drinking, many public drunkenness cases, and house parties," said Corporal Benjamin Bastow of the Millcreek Police Department.

"I wouldn't say we've had a spike yet, but with graduation, and school being done, we most definitely see a spike in the summer," he said.

 Repercussions for minors can include a citation that will stay on permanent records,  a fine of up to $500, and even a six-month driver's license suspension.

Underage drinking busts at a party  doesn't only mean consequences for the drinkers, often the homeowners or host's parents will face charges as well.

"If the police show up and it can be determined that the parents were knowingly hosting a party, or that there's enough alcohol there that they should've known, then they can be charged," Bastow said. "It's up to a misdemeanor event and that's a several thousand-dollar offense once you get through with fines and court costs."

Some fresh graduates say there are plenty of house parties.

"Yeah nearly every weekend, especially towards the end when everyone's trying to celebrate, you hear about it a lot," said Christopher Zielinski, a McDowell High School grad.

But many do choose to decline.

"The people I hang out with, I know it (alcohol) is not really a concern. We know we can have fun at the beach and stuff instead of drinking," Zielinski said.

"We have fun without it and it's not a big deal because we know college is coming up, which is way more important to us than anything else," said Alexandra Fuller, another McDowell graduate.

Though most kids are good kids, police leave parents with one more word of caution.

"Probably the best roles of being a parent,is being aware of what's coming into your house. It's good to know who your kids are hanging out with, what their characters are like, and what they're involved in," Bastow said.

Police say they've already had a few incidents of underage drinking - one recent house party in Millcreek hosted by teens caused thousands of dollars in damage and property stolen.

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