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Scotia enacts 'party law' for kids, parents

Scotia parents with underage children need to think twice before allowing alcohol to be consumed at their home.

A new law passed by the Scotia Board of Trustees Wednesday, July 11, states that parents who aware of underage drinking on their property are responsible. Trustees passed the party law by unanimous vote, with Mayor Kris Kastberg making it clear that law enforcement must be able to prove that the parents were aware of the drinking.

"If my wife and I go away and my teenage daughter has a party with alcohol, and I am totally unaware, that's a different story. If we hold a party and allow the kids to drink as long as they are 'responsible,' that is breaking the law," said Kastberg.

Many local municipalities, including Niskayuna, Gloversville, Broadalbin, Johnstown and Stillwater, have passed similar laws that warn parents that drinking under their supervision will not be tolerated. Many local and state officials fear that there is an idea among parents that it is better to allow kids to drink under the parents' roof as opposed to being unsupervised.

Scotia's "party law" aims at preventing this mentality.

"It's a matter of responsibility and not just on the part of the kids, but the parents as well. If you allow kids to drink in your home and then they leave and cause harm to someone, you as a parent need to be held liable," said Trustee Armon Benny.

The law states it is the purpose of the village to protect public interest, health, safety and the welfare of residents. The law talks of "open house parties," which are defined as a social gathering or otherwise at a residence or other private property with minors present. The law states "persons who are in control of such residences know or have reason to know of such service and / or consumption and will be more likely to ensure that alcoholic beverages and drugs are neither served to nor consumed by persons under the age of 21 at these gatherings."

A similar law on the state level states that police officers must prove intent while local officers need only to prove parents had knowledge, under the local laws, being passed by communities.

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