Agents pursue underage drinkers

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 6, 2008

It’s that time of the year to show one’s school spirit, but according to Lt. Lance Price of the Alabama Beverage Control Board, school spirit should be the only “spirit” in which revelers partake.

“With the increased participation in homecoming and all things that go along with the wonderful occasion, it’s a great time to show school spirit, but people need to remember that it’s the only type of spirit they need to be partaking in,” Price said. “Alcohol and family events such as football games and homecoming don’t mix.”

Price said ABC agents will be out in full force in the coming weeks, working details at local ballgames looking for alcohol and tobacco use on school property.

“Especially homecoming events,” he said. “We’re going to have zero tolerance. To date, we’ve worked more than 400 cases in Covington County. That number is way too high.”

Price said he wanted to remind residents it is not only illegal to consume alcohol on any school property, it is also illegal for any person to knowingly sell, give or dispense any alcohol to any school student under 18 while on that school property.

In fact, it’s a felonious crime that carries up to a three-year prison sentence, he said.

“It’s a law that’s been on the books for many years,” he said. “It just hasn’t been enforced as heavily. Generally, those people have been charged as minors in possession or of contributing to a delinquency of minor.

“Not now,” he said. “We’re going to test the waters. With so many accidents involving youths and alcohol on college campuses and other roadways and with the large amount of people we have locally on school campuses for these type events, we need to do something.”

And it goes not only for the students, but also for the adults attending the event.

“You don’t have to have alcohol to enjoy the ballgame,” Price said. “We want to keep these events family oriented. It’s so dangerous when one mixes alcohol and driving – at any age – and we want to do our best at keeping the people of Covington County safe.”

Price cited two incidents that occurred within the last two years — one at Pleasant Home School and one at Andalusia High School.

“Both of these events were sporting events — while not maybe homecoming — but it still happened,” he said. “We didn’t charge anyone with a felony, but that’s going to change.

“Human life is so precious,” he said. “We all have to work to safeguard it.”