Social Hosting Not Socially Acceptable

Spring brings big events for our high school seniors. Crescenta Valley and Clark Magnet high schools are graduating their senior classes on Thursday, June 16 and this weekend is CV High School’s senior prom.
Being a big deal for the kids, among the many questions pondered are dresses, shoes, transportation and, what I think is the most potentially risky question of all, where to go after the dance.
Statistics show that prom night and grad night are two of the most dangerous nights in a senior’s life. They feel invincible and are more apt to take chances that they normally would shy away from. Unfortunately the consequences of these choices range from negligible to deadly.
I’m not alone in recognizing this abandonment of responsible action that some of our kids gravitate toward during prom. Some parents in our community have opted to provide what they feel is a “safe” place for their kids to party – in their homes after prom. Not a bad idea except these folks have been convinced that providing alcohol is centric to the success of the party.
I am not kidding.
“Social hosting” refers to “adults who serve or provide alcohol to minors or persons who are obviously intoxicated [and] can be held liable if the person who was provided alcohol is killed or injured, or kills or injures another person.” Adults who think that serving alcohol to minors is a sure-fire way to keep them safe are using flawed reasoning.
Don’t think that kids looking for alcohol are planning on nursing a cocktail. The intent generally is to get wasted. Imagine a house full of intoxicated teens, some of whom may never have had a drink before, getting sick; violent; scared. And have you seen some of our male seniors? Imagine taking their keys at the beginning of the evening when everyone is sober and easygoing, then around 3:30 a.m. demanding them back. Do you have the physical wherewithal to say no?
In some states, social host liability is covered under dram shop law. Dram shop liability refers to a drinking establishment’s potential financial liability for serving alcohol to an intoxicated or underage person who later causes injury to a third party. Are you willing to sacrifice everything you’ve worked for so your child can illegally drink? And are you willing to let all the parents of the children attending your house know that alcohol is going to be served?
Back in 1991 CV lost a senior at an unsupervised post-prom hotel party. Berlyn Cosman, an aspiring basketball player who had been awarded an athletic scholarship, was only 17 when she was shot and killed by an acquaintance as she slept in the designated “quiet room.”
Berlyn’s death violently brought to the forefront that there are not a lot of options for kids after prom. Many are under the age of 18 and all are under 21 meaning that nightclubs and other party places are closed to them.
In response, the community has come together to support Prom Plus, an after prom party for prom goers and their guests that is open to all CVHS seniors. It is being held this weekend at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA on Saturday night (technically Sunday morning) from midnight to 5 a.m., immediately following prom.
I’ve been involved with Prom Plus since 1999 and have seen the event grow into a dynamic, exciting place where kids have a great time. We have a full casino, mechanical bull, gyroscope, bungee run, food, games and prizes – great prizes like an X-Box 360 Kinect, iPods, Garmin GPS and even Snuggies and videos. Prizes have been generously donated by businesses like J’s Maintenance and Lexus of Glendale whose owners want to make sure our kids have someplace fun (and safe) to go after prom. Organizations like Kiwanis have made financial contributions.
I encourage you to urge your seniors to attend Prom Plus. For those who attend prom, admittance is included in the prom ticket; for non-prom attendees is just $20 at the door.
I’ll be there and I hope your child is, too.

From the desk of the publisher Robin Goldsworthy

Robin Goldsworthy is the publisher of the Crescenta
Valley Weekly. She can be
reached at
or (818) 248-2740.