Dad Gets Pinned for Teens Drinking in House for No Reason


beerDid you ever know one of those kids whose parents let them drink -- as long as it was at home? I did. The parents figured the kids would be drinking anyway. Better have them drinking under their own noses than out where they could get into trouble. That may be what was going on in Menlo Park, California, when Stanford professor Bill Burnett was arrested for allowing his teenage son and friends drink alcohol at a party he hosted.

But Bill and his wife Cynthia are saying they have no knowledge of their underaged son and his friends drinking. And the police have no proof yet. What if the parents did everything right?

Bill says he and his wife were supervising the party. "We put really clear rules in place and we were patrolling the party," he said on the Today show. "My wife and I were both at the house. We were upstairs. The kids were downstairs in the basement. So we were there the whole time. I went through the party a couple times. I brought chocolate chip cookies. I was about to bring them brownies when the police came."

Well that sounds like a pretty tame party. Apparently the kids were just quietly watching movies or chatting in the basement, right? And maybe everyone just had a flask under their shirts and that's why mom and dad never noticed the drinking. Maybe they have a don't ask don't tell policy with parties. Except ... why did the police come? I don't think it was for the Burnetts' brownies.

The police showed up because the party was SO ROWDY, the neighbors called -- rowdy as in loud music and loud teenagers. You can accomplish both without the use of alcohol, of course, but what really happened? The police allege that the kids looked like they were under the influence. But they didn't make the teens take breathalizer tests and they didn't actually witness the teens drinking.

So did the Burnetts just let the teens get too loud? Could they have done anything different? Should they have just said no to a party? It seems like they're in an impossible situation. I sure wouldn't want to be responsible for 40 drinking teenagers -- but then, I'm not sure I'd want to be responsible for 40 teenagers, period.

Do you think the teens were drinking? And do you think it's all right for parents to allow their teens to drink if it's under their own roof?

Image via Thomas Backa/Flickr

drugs & alcohol, family


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Kritika Kritika

This is so stupid! This entire "party" culture would go away if there were not age restrictions like in Europe! The teenagers there go to a cafe, sip on one drink, talk and go home! Most will have coffee anyway because there's is no "magical" 21 to look forward to....

nonmember avatar Amber

I don't understand how the parents got in trouble? If they found no alcohol, and didn't do breathylizer tests, and just arrested the dad because the kids "looked drunk" wouldn't that be illegal? They can't just arrest someone because they assumed something??

hotic... hoticedcoffee

No, it's not OK for parents to allow teens to drink at home, because it's illegal.  Whether or not the drinking age is stupid (and I agree that it is), it's still a law.  No matter what the justification, serving minors - your own or someone else's, at home or elsewhere, is breaking that law.

ms_mo... ms_morgan

Ditto on hoticedcoffee's view

onebl... oneblondemama

the police did find alcohol that was brought in by the kids without the parents knowledge.  there is a law where these people live that states that parents at the residence where there is a party with underage teens have to do everything reasonably possible to make sure there is no alcohol being consumed.  as far as I can tell they did that but evidently the police didn't think so.  

nonmember avatar LRC

I see no mention of any alcohol being found. Thus it's opinions with no proof (pun intended) and ought to be dropped without ever seeing a courtroom!

Mrscj... Mrscjones

Another kid brought the alcohol the cops came not because they was rowdy but because someone called the cops n told them alcohol was there. Due 2 a crazy law even though they didn't provide r know that it was there the father was arrested. There's a better article on it on aol.

nonmember avatar what?!

aol?! there's still an aol around?!

Sheila Moorhead

Give me a break! Hold the kids responsible! If a 16 year old can be tried as an adult for murder then a sixteen year old can be charged with underage consumption....they know the rules. Or wait.......they must be athletes or "good" kids ha! Nobody pored it down their throuts, hold the kids responsible along with the parents!

Courtney Paige Neale

I'm with Amber. This doesn't sound legal. How can you arrest a parent just because the kids "looked" drunk???

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