As Kansas University works to curb underage drinking, there’s a group of concerned parents and community members involved in the same fight.
The New Tradition Coalition, formerly the Lawrence Parent Network, has been working for about five years to address the issue, by involving parents to prevent underage drinking tragedies.
Two recent KU student deaths involving alcohol have shed light on the extreme consequences that underage drinking can have. But members of the coalition said it has been a community problem for years, not only at KU but also among high school students in Lawrence.
“There is an acceptance, that it’s a rite of passage, for kids to drink and that it’s going to happen no matter what parents do,” said Nancy Renfro, a parent and member of the coalition. “We are foolish to think like that.”
The coalition got together Wednesday, the day after Kansas University officials announced they would begin notifying parents when students are caught violating drug or alcohol policies.
The group, which meets monthly at DCCCA Inc., works to educate parents about the reality of alcohol use among students under 21, to break the tradition of underage drinking.
“The amount of alcohol that’s consumed now and the binge drinking … is extremely dangerous,” said Elizabeth Scheib, a Free State High School parent and coalition member.
On Tuesday, KU announced several new policies in an attempt to curb underage drinking among students.
The coalition says the Lawrence community must also play a role in telling kids about the dangers of alcohol.
Those interested in joining the coalition can attend its meetings at 11:30 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at DCCCA, 3312 Clinton Parkway. More information can be found at thenewtraditioncoalition.blogspot.com.