Do Parents Drink at Youth Sports Games? Officials in one CT city say it’s been a problem for years

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WESTON — Local officials say concern about parents drinking during youth sports games in public has existed for years but is now potentially leading to more drinking among their children.

In a letter to the school community last week, Lisa Wolak, Superintendent of Schools at Weston, said: “We have come to realize that adults are promoting happy hours during youth sporting events and publicizing those events on social media.”

Wolak’s letter called the behavior “completely unacceptable”.

Wolak also pointed to a recent survey showing that alcohol consumption appears to be increasing among seventh and eighth graders in Weston.

However, police in the nearby cities of Fairfield and Westport said they had received no complaints about parents drinking at games. Bethel School Superintendent Christine Carver said she also had no evidence of this type of behavior.

But in Weston, the problem of parents drinking at youth sports games has become commonplace.

“That’s not new, I think the reaction is new, the boldness is new,” said Weston First Selectwoman Samantha Nestor.

Weston Police Chief Ed Henion said he spoke to Wolak before the letter was sent to the school community and described the action as proactive.

“We haven’t had any drunk driving or accidents because we were drinking on the property,” he said.

Henion said he was unaware of any specific incidents referred to by Wolak in her letter, but pointed out that alcohol is banned on school premises.

“Obviously we do not support alcohol consumption on school premises,” he said, adding that parents should set a good example for their children and never drive after drinking.

Years ago, Nestor said the Board of Education was concerned about people coming onto school grounds with alcohol during the annual Memorial Day Fair.

When asked if cannabis use was also a problem, Nestor, a former school board member who sat on the policy committee, noted that the alcohol ban extends to smoking or vaping on school premises.

Nestor and Wolak also referred to the school survey data showed that alcohol consumption among seventh and eighth graders had increased in 2021 since the last survey in 2017. The 2021 survey found that 10 percent of these students admit to having used alcohol, compared to 3 percent in 2017.

“Weston is an amazing site, we are a beautiful site with a 2 acre zoning. There are many places where you can party with your friends other than a parking lot and a school,” Nestor said. “There’s a very small sliver where it’s sort of ‘no’ — everywhere else is open for business.”

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