Too young to drink - Too young to be in bars?

KHS SADD Club asks Parish officials to ban underage patronage of bars

More than 50 Kentwood High School SADD Club members appeared before their parish government Monday, February 9. Club members are imploring Tangipahoa Parish Council Members to recognize the dangerous gap in Louisiana's 18/21 law that allows minors into barrooms.

They gathered personal accounts and statistics regarding underage drinking, leaving a grim future to their conclusion. "Only 21 years and older should have access to the clubs, matching the legal drinking age of 21," SADD Club President Christine Baker stated.

Last year, up against the odds of club owners, cover charges, and even those of their peers, SADD members persuaded the Kentwood Town Council to prohibit minors in bars. The town law was changed to 21/21 in April 2008. Kentwood is only the second city in Louisiana to change the law, and the first to be spearheaded by high school youth. "Although minors are not supposed to drink in barrooms, they do it anyway to look cool, club member Averi Strickland told council members Monday night. "The goal is to reduce youth drunken driving accidents, bar fights and other dangerous activities," Strickland added.

Councilman Tom Tolar, who placed the item on Monday night's agenda, commended the students and their sponsor Irma Gordon for their cause. "You are an amazing group of young people," Tolar said. "I am proud of all of you for coming before your parish government and standing up for such an important and worthy cause," Tolar proudly added.

The Kentwood High School local chapter is affiliated with Students Against Destructive Decisions, a national organization of young people.

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