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Is there still a culture of drinking at elite Maryland schools?

Much of the media attention surrounding Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings after he was nominated to be the newest Supreme Court justice centered around his high school years at the prestigious Georgetown Preparatory School, known more commonly as Georgetown Prep, in Bethesda.

The atmosphere of heavy drinking and partying portrayed throughout the coverage of Kavanaugh's years at Georgetown Prep did, indeed, exist in the 1980s according to a letter written jointly by the headmasters of seven schools in the area to parents and reported on by The Washington Post in 1990.

The letter warned parents that many of their children were attending parties where heavy drinking was contributing to "sexual or violent behavior." According to the article, even before the letter went out, Georgetown Prep "held a conference with parents to discuss the problem of unsupervised parties."

The problem wasn't limited to the boys' schools. The article quoted the headmaster of Holton-Arms, the school attended by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who says that Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her at a 1982 party. He said that "a number of parents and kids have expressed dismay over some of the situations at weekend parties....We're concerned about the potential for tragedy."

Now Georgetown Prep claims that the "problems and abuses of alcohol and drugs, sexual assault and misconduct, emotional and physical violence toward others are real. … But it is demonstrably false that such behavior or culture is tolerated, still less encouraged, at Georgetown Prep."

While teen drinking has decreased in the decades since then, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism warns that "underage youth who drink are more likely to carry out or be the victim of a physical or sexual assault after drinking than others their age who do not drink.­­"

Driving under the influence can be another serious ramification of underage drinking for the driver, passengers and others on the road. That's why police and prosecutors take DUIs seriously. Minors arrested for DUI can also face underage drinking charges. If your child finds themselves under arrest and charged with DUI and/or other crimes, an experienced Maryland attorney can protect their rights and seek to mitigate the consequences on their future.

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