School district supports social host ordinance

Members of the Laguna Beach Unified school board signed a resolution Tuesday in support of the Social Host Accountability Ordinance, which they want the City Council to consider drafting.

The social host ordinance, which has been passed in other Orange County cities, fines adults for hosting parties or providing a place for minors to drink illegally.

In its resolution, the board said research shows that adults serving as "social hosts" and private homes are the primary source and place where teens illegally consume alcohol.

"When making a board decision, the first thing I think about is safety," member Theresa O'Hare said. "This isn't going to fix everything, but it's another tool in the tool box for our students to use and our parents to use."

Member Ketta Brown said parents who don't know how to tackle the issue would have something concrete to point to: city law.

The district mentioned that its Community Coalition has been working for years to deter youth from abusing alcohol and drugs.

Board member Jan Vickers said the community has been trying to address the issue of social hosting since the '80s and that the ordinance would "send a real message."

Last year Irvine passed a similar ordinance, which administers fines starting at $750 for adults acting as social hosts for minors. More violations could yield fines of up to $3,000.

Eight percent of the county's DUI arrests are minors, Todd Spitzer, of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said last year at an Irvine City Council meeting.

Irvine did have an exception for alcohol used for religious purposes, which board member William Landsiedel agreed should be drafted into Laguna's ordinance.

The PTA supported the ordinance at its last meeting and mentioned it Tuesday.

School board members will attend Tuesday's City Council meeting to show their support of the ordinance.

Twitter: @joannaclay

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