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November 30, 2009

Alcohol-related accident takes life of River HIll student

Today, we report about the sad death of a River Hill High School football player over the weekend. The driver of the vehicle was a River Hill graduate and former football player. He is now facing charges of vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving. The accident came a day after the Howard County state championship team had lost a key game.

River Hill's principal and staff were at the school yesterday preparing for the sadness and emotional turmoil that might erupt today from students who are grieving the loss of a friend. 

While we don't know whether the two teenagers in the car were drinking or not, this accident again reminds us of the issue of teenage drinking. Surveys report an increase in binge drinking, and so I would like to hear from administrators and parents on the issue of what role schools can or should play in trying to control it. Students learn about it the issue in most health classes. Should administrators do anything else? Is this a parental issue and not a school issue? What role can coaches play in trying to reduce drinking?


Posted by Liz Bowie at 4:45 PM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Around the Region


It's first and foremost a parental issue. And it's not even the alcohol, per se. The fact is that 2 17-year olds were out "partying" at 2:30 in the morning. Either the parents were not aware of it (hard to believe), or they had not dealt with such behavior in previous instances. If these athletes had been "grounded" meaning no games) for previous instances, it wouldn't have happened.

This is a parenting issue. Who is taking physical inventory of these kids? Someone should be responsible to do so. I have one in college and two in high school. I always know where ALL five of my children are.

This is a parental issue. I think as parents we all do the best that we can. Teenagers are full of themselves and think that they are invincible. It is easy to blame the parents and say they should have known where their children were that way we can believe it will never happen to us. The sad fact is that it can happen to any of us and my heart breaks for both sets of parents, and I will be sure to hug my children especially hard in the coming days and be grateful for them.

Unfortunately we parents like to THINK we know where our kids are at all times. Thankfully, I'm not naive enough to believe that. One College and one High scool student later I realized that the kids control what we know and how much we know... I like to think that I raised my children to make good decisions. The sad truth is no matter what decisions our kids make there are others out there making Bad decision which directly affect and influence our kids.

Like others, My first reaction as MOM was what was a 17 year old doing out at 2:00 am?

My second reaction was the realization of the pain those two families are now going through.
The horrible reality is that there are two boys who will have to live with this tradegy for the rest of their lives. I can't even imagine the pain they are going through.

The loss the Dankos family will be dealing with is not even fathomible to me.

No, I'm not going to sit here and judge the families involved.
I'm not going to be naive enough to say punishing them or grounding them would have prevented this tradegy.

I deal with my children on a daily basis. I ground my son often but I realize that doing so is NO guarentee to good decision making.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of Steven Dankos and The Erdman Brothers.

I would like to know where the owners of the house where this party took place were at?! If they were present, don't they bear some form of responsibility for allowing under-aged drinking on their property!?
Why did NOBODY tell David NO!?

Why do some of you people think you are GOD Almighty when it comes to parenting. Well let me tell you, YOU ARE NOT! Both of these families lives are forever changed and will never, ever be the same. No matter how it happened. It is just a tragedy. RIP Steven. My thoughts and prayers go out to both families.

Please don't blame the parents for believing in their children.Teenagers will lie to their parents face to get away with stuff that they know they should not be doing. Lets blame the party house. Who was in charge of this party. Who was supposed to be home keeping an eye on these kids who believe they are all grown up but are still children. Get to the source of this tragedy. My heart aches for both families involved. Throw the book at the party house!

First of all I can guarantee you do not know where your kids are all the time.
Kids tell their parents where they will be and when that parent has some trust in their child they know they will be there. Teenagers do not always stay in the same place as where they say they were going, and their parents would have no idea. It is not a parental issue. Steven had great parents and if you knew him you would know just because he was a great person himself. I can't believe some of you have the nerve to criticize his parents after they just lost their 17 year old son. They are not at fault, because teenagers tell them they will be sleeping at a friends house but not actually be there at all.

One of the questions was what role does the coaches have in reducing drinking. I am not sure but I believe that if a student gets an alcohol citation, they are benched for a number of games. It is different if the drinking occurred at a school function. My feeling is that if a student gets an alcohol citation, they should be immediately removed from the team. That would send a clear message that underage drinking is not tolerated anywhere, whether it is a school related function or not. I cannot tell you how many people I know that allow kids under 21 drink at their houses. How irresponsible it is to think it is ok for underage kids to drink! It should not be tolerated at all! I don't get it!

To Lexie and others who continue to defend the parents,kids,party-hosts, etc. with the kids will be kids mentality,I have this to say;dead is dead!I raised five kids to adulthood. Did they get away with some stuff? Probably! But in the interest of keeping them alive, they got away with very little and they are here to tell you that they are glad we were the kind of parents we were. We were not their friends and often they thought they hated us but it took only a very few years for them to realize that we loved them and kept them alive!

We had curfews, we called the homes they intended to party or sleep at, we dropped in even though we called, we took them home on many an occasion, we limited driving, and we kept them busy with activities we were all involved in. We made our home the place to be without booze or drugs. Our kids now live all over the US but their local friends visit us often. To young parents out there, do not be convinced by other parents to be lax when your heart tells you otherwise.

How many teen deaths do we need to experience before we realize that there are too many excuses and not enough honesty? Some say not to discuss this when a death is new but that is exactly when it needs to be discussed so perhaps we can save a life!

Recently our family experienced the death of a carful of kids in another state. Drinking was involved. Speeding and careless driving was involved. The young teens were out at 1:00 AM! Why?????? Please pardon me if I feel cold about the parents. Those kids could have killed me or my family! They did kill an innocent man that they hit head-on!

If you want to be a parent,be prepared to consistently make the difficult decisions for your children! Brain research has proved that these kids are not ready to make sound decisions. Otherwise, we will continue to experience these kind of non-accidents.

As a regular education teacher with 120 students in my 5 classes I estimate that at 10 minutes per student - which is conservative - it would require 20 hours of data entry to meet the requirements of 1 marking period. Since there are 4 marking periods a year this would mean that I am expected to spend at least 80 hours filling out AIM each year. This represents nearly 3 weeks of uncompensated overtime forced on me annually. I already work at least 8 hours of uncompensated overtime each week as the county does not provide me with adequate planning time or enough time to grade papers and contact parents. It seems that Joe Hairston expects to balance his budget on the backs of the teachers. The only motivator offered by Baltimore County is FEAR of losing one's job.

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