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I attended a community forum addressing underage drinking at Pioneer High School today. The forum was hosted by an impressive new group of students named Pioneers Addressing Community Temptations (PACT). The PACT students brought in six panelists from the community: an HVA emergency responder, a City of Ann Arbor police officer, two high school students, a local parent and a local liquor store owner. The panelists as well as other community members talked about ways to deal with the underage drinking problem, and each one brought a different perspective to the discussion.
Even though many strong ideas were put forward and quite a few moving stories were told, I was disappointed with the direction in which the forum went. Each speaker seemed to assume that the consumption of alcohol by minors was in and of itself a problem that needed to be addressed. We heard about the dangers of drunk driving, but we didn't hear anything about the positive effects of exposing teens to alcohol in a controlled manner before they go on to college or take other paths in life.
The news story about the town hall in question can be found here.