Family Communications

From the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign Book

Important message regarding Underage Drinking - Listen


TOPIC: Sleepovers

What can parents do ?

If you are considering hosting a "Sleepover" for your teenager and his/her friends, some parents have recommended that you first discuss the following rules with them:


TOPIC: Curfews

curfewDoes The Town have curfews for our teenagers? This question has been asked several times in the past and the answer is no. To unify a curfew system among parents, it is recommended that a simple time limit be considered that is set by their grade

If your teen is in the...
9th Grade the curfew is 9:00 PM
10th Grade the curfew is 10:00 PM
11th Grade the curfew is 11:00 PM
12th Grade the curfew is 12:00 Midnight


TOPIC: Communications

What can parents do?

Parenting for Prevention

Take the Test:

How well do you communicate and know your teens. Please take a few seconds to read the below statements and circle the numbers that honestly do to see if you are a Hand-On, Hands Off or Half Hearted parent. This survey came from the Dr. John Underwood of the American Athletics Institute.

Here's the list:

You're a HANDS-ON parent if you do 10 or more of the above items...
You're a HANDS-OFF parent if you do 5 or less of the above 14...
and you're a HALF-HEARTED parent if you do 6 to 9 of the 14 criteria.


TOPIC: Choices

From Chief John LaCross:

choicesIn 2006 I was asked by Ms. Gabrielle M. Abbate, Executive Director of M.A.D.D., to write students a brief letter about underage drinking, seatbelt safety, speeding, etc. to help give a strong prom message to all teens.   In an effort to impress upon you the importance of making the right choice when it comes to these high risk behaviors, I will share with you this letter which was posted in the Providence Journal in 2006.   It speaks of my most difficult moment as a law enforcement officer and as a parent. My message becomes more crucial at this time of year as students attend proms and celebrate graduations. As you read the following, I urge you to place yourself in the positions of these teens making the choices, the parents or siblings getting the news, and the community trying to say good-bye.

It was about 2:00 AM on May 1, 2005, when the telephone rang and woke me out of a sound sleep.   I was informed that the night Sergeant was on the scene of a terrible car accident involving three high school teenagers. Two of these teens were believed to be dead and it was expected that the third passenger would not survive. Without asking any more questions, I quickly dressed and began walking out the door when it suddenly hit me that the Sergeant never said whether the crash victims were male or female.   I immediately checked my daughter's bedroom as thoughts began to race through my head that my daughter may be one of the victims.   A check of her bedroom showed that she was not in bed.   My heart started to pound as I raced downstairs to find my daughter laughing on her cell phone as she talked to a friend.   Looking puzzled at me, she asked "Where are you going Dad at this time in the morning?"   I told her "Right down the street to investigate a bad accident where two of your high school friends may be dead."   Though I felt a sense of relief as a parent knowing my daughter was safe, I realized I was about to encounter the pain and grief of these teenagers' families, friends and our community.

Upon arriving at the crash scene, I witnessed one of the worst accidents I had ever seen in my 27 years in law enforcement.   Out of respect for the families of these teenagers, I will not describe the details of the horrific scene that night. I will tell you that notifying the parents and siblings of each family was heartbreaking and unforgettable.   Hysteria, tears and disbelief overcame them. One parent ran upstairs to check his son's bedroom in disbelief.   As a parent in this small community, I too was overcome with emotion as I personally knew one of teen's siblings who had been my daughter's friend for nearly ten years.

Though many ask how this senseless tragedy could have happened, the more valuable question is how could it have been prevented?   The answer lies in a series of bad choices made by a bunch of teenagers who worked hard but also wanted to play hard.   These were good kids who were athletes with good grades that came from good homes with loving families.   That evening the driver made a bad choice when he took the family car in the earlier morning hours without his parents' knowledge and without having a driver's license.   Another bad choice occurred when two other boys made the decision to get a ride with this unlicensed and inexperienced driver.   Alcohol and marijuana were also found in the car at the accident scene; yet another bad choice.   It was estimated that the vehicle was traveling at least three times the speed limit on this rainy night.   The choice to speed, without a doubt, could have prevented this tragic accident.   There was also a missed opportunity to make the right choice when these teens' friends at a house party allowed this inexperienced driver to leave; no one stopped them.   Maybe they thought it was cool.   Peer pressure can be very strong and hard to overcome when trying to make a safe choice.

This letter is not about blame, but about bad choices made one evening by several teenagers like you. These two young teenagers, their families as well as hundreds of friends were robbed from enjoying their prosperous and bright futures.   Some of their friends were heard to say, "No regrets we worked hard, we played and lived hard".   At ages 15 and 16 you have yet to experience life. No regrets?   How about enjoying graduation from high school and college, marriage, children, shared vacations and life's experiences?   There are endless regrets for the parents, siblings and friends who can no longer experience life with these two young men.

The choices we make affect not only us, but the people who love us.   So as you approach a tough decision, please think about the choices that you are making and how they may affect your parents, siblings and friends.   Watch out and protect each other from making bad choices and don't be afraid to get into your friend's face and say "NO" this is not a good idea.   They may not like you at the time, but your reward is in knowing they will be there the next morning.

As a parent and from my heart, I wish each of you a safe and happy high school experience.


John M. LaCross
Chief of Police
Barrington, RI