The Zanesville Police Department is warning students and parents about the consequences of underage drinking.
Last weekend ten Zanesville High School athletes were caught drinking at parties, and Director of Student Services Kevin Appleman said the students were suspended from their sports for 20 to 50 percent of their games. Police Chief Eric Lambes said the juveniles are responsible for their behavior, but parents should be aware of what can happen if their child throws a house party.
"The big message is there are so many parents out there that think it’s okay to host drinking parties for juveniles, and it’s really not," said Lambes. "The parents are the ones that are making themselves very liable for a criminal charge or a civil charge. If something happens and there’s some kind of injury, or if somebody drinks and drives while leaving one of those parties, the parents that are hosting that party are liable in so many ways that it doesn’t make sense for them to participate."
Lambes said the charges related to underage drinking are all misdemeanors, but parents can face up to six months in jail and thousands of dollars in fines for each charge. As for the students, athletes aren’t the only ones who can be punished.
"To my understanding, the school’s policy involves all extra-curricular activities within the school, not just athletics, but also the band and various clubs, and those students can be suspended from those activities, so it’s not just athletics that we’re talking about," said Lambes. "We’re talking about all school functions and we need to make that very clear."
An anonymous parent reported the parties last weekend and the school district investigated the allegations. None of the students in this case are repeat offenders.