Underage drinking arrest? Mom and dad know

Michael Lewis

Students trying to avoid their parents’ wrath in addition to that of the police might not be able to avoid it.

Parents of recently arrested students may already know about the deed, depending on the nature of the crime.

The parents of students charged with prohibitions, or underage drinking, will receive a notification letter from the Kent Police Department informing them of their child’s crime.

“We’ve been doing this for several years,” said Jeff Langstaff, juvenile counselor for Kent Police.

“It gets the conversation going in healthy ways.”

According to Digest of Rules and Regulations, the university believes that parent notification “is an educational measure that will provide students and parents an opportunity to appropriately deal with a potential problem that could result in serious academic, social and personal health concerns.”

Kent State Police Officer Matthew Radigan said the Kent State department does not notify parents. They contact student judicial services.

Student Judicial Services Director R.P. Flynn said the only time they make parents aware of their child’s crime is for an alcohol or drug violation.

“I treat people like adults and I expect them to act like adults,” Flynn said. “I don’t understand how people can act like adults, but get treated like children. You are 18. Therefore, you are an adult.”

Greg Jarvie, Dean of Students and Student Ombuds, said the university believes there is an appropriate time to intervene. If the first-time offense is serious enough, parents get notified.

“For example, a student gets sent to Robinson Memorial for an overdose or ingestion of drugs,” he said. “Obviously, that’s a serious first offense. We believe at that point the strongest intervention should come from the parents.”

Kent violators might consider themselves lucky they do not attend Ohio University. The city of Athens patterned a similar program based on Kent’s apparent success, though it has drawn public outcry.

Not only are letters sent to parents of underage drinkers, but the Athens Police Department sends letters to anyone arrested under the age of 25. Ohio University student senators plan to inform students how to register their Athens address with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This response may help students get the letter instead of their parents.

Contact safety reporter Michael Lewis at [email protected].