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Beer Bashes of Teens Spinning Out of Control in US

Loading a Super Soaker (a brand of recreational water gun) with urine and spraying everything in sight, worse ejaculating on stuffed animals, how depraved teen bashes could go?

Anguished cries are heard these days after a popular 17-year-old football player leaped to his death on the night of Easter after leading police on a car chase. The boy had been at a party in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

A week or so later, Mayor Tish Colombi and School Superintendent Joe O'Brien received an envelope of unsettling photos.

Among them were the picture of a boy posing next to an artfully arranged pyramid of beer and of a girl who strapped a bottle of Captain Morgan (a popular rum brand) to her chest with a belt for easy access, like a gun in a holster.

The brazen youth had already posted the pictures on the internet.

An outraged Mayor has since started a campaign against irresponsible youth behavior. She is worried the situation is reeling out of control.

The latest rage involves friends letting friends get wild in an empty home. Urine in a Super Soaker and ejaculation on stuffed animals, both apparently happened inside the home of a vacationing family on the Maple Avenue.

Parents don't even need to be gone long. Some parties start the second they go out to eat. Thanks to cell phones and instant messaging, 60 kids can show up in 10 minutes.

'Word gets out fast,' explains Haddonfield Commissioner Neal Rochford, who experienced it himself. 'They swarm.'

'They're not out just to have a couple of beers and get silly,' he adds. 'They're out to get annihilated.'

At her roundtable, and at a civic association meeting last week, Mayor Colombi played her slide show of the Internet pictures.

The faces are obscured, to protect the young and not-so-innocent. Still, the audacity silenced the rooms.

As much as it 'disgusts' her, Colombi relays the graphic details o f the Maple Avenue mayhem, which caused thousands of dollars of damage.

Fifteen juveniles are charged with burglary and criminal mischief. All 15 are lawyered up and pleading not guilty. So much for teaching kids to take responsibility for their actions, remarks angrily a columnist.

That life lesson was enough to make the Maple Avenue homeowner speak up at the civic association meeting.

'The other parents are mad at her because their kids got arrested,' Colombi explains, incredulously.

So what now? Colombi plans to show her slides at back-to-school nights and high school orientations in the fall. Frank talk about the formerly unspeakable subject is becoming more common.

Parents who once bragged about hosting teen drinkers may be rethinking their stance, Rochford says. Or at least 'they're keeping a low profile.'

Ideas are trickling in - such as no-cut athletics (to keep high school students from having any free time for crime) and a coffeehouse teens can call their own (to get them hooked on a legal stimulant).

Linda Bolger, a parent who attended Colombi's session, wants Haddonfield to require students to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting before graduation.

A few weeks ago, four students were caught drinking at the sophomore dance, school superintendent O'Brien says. Thirty-one others have been punished for off-campus behavior in a tough new policy that has outraged parents and teenagers.

The Easter tragedy was the 14th alcohol-related death of his 30-year career. May be more could be avoided with tough laws and sustained campaigning, among parents especially.


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