If you’re sending your child off to college in the fall, whether here in Maryland or across the country, you’re likely nervous about the kinds of things he or she will be exposed to, e.g., copious amounts of alcohol. You may find some assurance in the knowledge that colleges and universities are taking steps to curb underage drinking among their student bodies by implementing policies that prohibit it and penalties for those who fail to adhere to those policies.
Too many young people die from alcohol before they’re even old enough to legally drink — whether by alcohol poisoning, vehicle crashes, suicide or even homicide. Working to prevent such tragedies is obviously the right thing for schools to do. However, these institutions also want to prevent costly lawsuits and damage to their reputations that can result when a student is injured or worse as the result of underage drinking. These institutions can also face local and state penalties.
The federal government also provides incentives to encourage schools to implement programs to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. Under the Drug Free School and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, to receive federal funds, a school must, at a minimum:
- Publicize the risks of alcohol abuse.
- Provide treatment, counseling or rehabilitation programs for students.
- Educate student on local, state and other relevant laws.
- Have penalties for students who don’t comply with laws and/or school regulations.
When students are found to have engaged in underage drinking, aside from facing criminal penalties, they may have to deal with serious consequences to their education. Depending on school policy, students may be suspended, placed on probation or even expelled. They may lose their financial aid or be unable to qualify for it in the future.
If your child is facing charges of underage drinking, no matter how important you may think it is for him or her to suffer the consequences, it’s essential that you seek experienced legal guidance. The potential consequences on your child’s future can be long-term and serious.
Source: FindLaw, “Underage Drinking: Laws and School Policies,” accessed June 07, 2018