FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

Mom Arrested After Party Ends With Drunken Teen in Hospital

Police have charged a New Jersey mom, a first-grade teacher, with endangering the welfare of a child after a 15-year-old attending a drinking party at her home had to be hospitalized.

Tracey Harding, 50, of South Brunswick, was allegedly aware of the boy's condition, but told the teen's mother he was sleeping when the mother called looking for her son, The Associated Press reports.

In some cases, it's parents acknowledging that their kids will drink anyway and trying to provide a safe environment and keep an eye on them. In other cases, it's parents trying to be cool and impress their kids. Even with the best intentions, moms and dads can get into legal hot water for allowing their kids to imbibe on their watch.

Partying Too Hard

In this case, the boy's mother called Harding when she couldn't reach him, then went to the house while calling the police. Officers discovered the boy heavily intoxicated, with a life-threatening blood-alcohol level. He was rushed to the hospital, treated, and released several hours later.

Harding was arrested the next day, and has been released on bail. School officials also suspended her from her elementary school teaching job after learning about her arrest.

Potential Consequences for Cool Parents

As we've blogged about before, there are many ways that dads try to impress their kids -- throwing "Playboy"-themed parties among them. And as we see in the New Jersey mom's case, mothers can get in on the act as well.

But parents can get arrested for their kids' parties, especially if drinking is involved and even if the parents are supervising the drinking. In addition to New Jersey's child endangerment statute, the state, like many others, imposes social host liability on parents who furnish or serve alcohol to minors.

Therefore, parents can potentially be charged with criminal offenses for allowing minors to drink at their house, and open themselves up for civil liability if any of the children are injured or injure others after drinking.

Related Resources: