By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield High School (MHS) students were joined by members of the Marshfield Police Department and Marshfield Clinic Center for Community Outreach on April 22 in creating a human billboard that asked parents not to host underage drinking parties.
Students held up placards, which read, “Parents who host lose the most,” and also handed out yard signs with the same message to students and parents dropping their children off at school.
Leia Linzmeier, a freshman at MHS, said many students participating in the event were members of Marshfield Area Coalition for Youth’s (MACY) Youth Initiative Committee. The committee is comprised of both public and private school students who work to “develop and implement an annual substance abuse prevention plan in their respective schools,” according to the MACY website.
“I just think it’s a good cause to support for everyone who’s in high school,” Linzmeier said. “I get if students drink on their own, which is bad in itself, but especially if parents are promoting it, and it’s against the law. … That’s not a good thing.”
Marshfield Police Chief Rick Gramza also participated in the event and said there is more underage drinking in the Marshfield community “than there should be.”
“What better way to send a message than to have the youth of the community take a stance, … letting adults know that they don’t want adults serving underage people,” Gramza said.
Gramza noted the “parents who host lose the most” campaign is aimed at educating all adults in the community about the consequences of providing alcohol to underage individuals. He said fines could range from $300 to over $6,000, depending on the frequency and severity of offense.
“It’s tough to change a culture, but it happens piece by piece,” Gramza said of Wisconsin’s drinking attitudes. “We could tell the youth, ‘Drinking is bad. You don’t want to do it.’ But when they’re the ones that are actually stepping up and saying it, that, ‘We don’t want to be a part of this, and we want to be a part of the change,’ I think it makes that much more of an impact.”