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Mock teen party raises awarness about dangers facing teens

by Scott Neuffer

Teenagers sprawled out on the living room floor. Empty beer bottles. Bongs. A small crowd in the kitchen cheering and chugging beer.

That’s what parents found when they entered a mock teenage party held in a Ruhenstroth house on Nov. 21.

The Partnership of Community Resources, a nonprofit substance abuse prevention coalition, organized the event in hopes of raising awareness about the dangers of teenage parties.

The Douglas County Building Industry Association donated one of its fundraiser houses for the night.

Partnership Prevention Coordinator Amanda Johnson said about 40 members of Students Taking On Prevention, a group of middle and high school activists, volunteered to dramatize an array of risky behaviors.

Johnson said the parent turnout was good.

“We’ve had about 10 tours an hour,” she said. “It’s been steady.”

Minden resident Kristin Tessmann waited on the front porch in the cold for her turn to go inside. Tessmann has two teenage sons.

“It’s important to know what’s going on and to be informed,” she said.

Inside, parents found teenagers passed out in the living room. Some were playing video games. Others sat slumped around a bong. Beer bottles everywhere.

In the kitchen, Douglas High student Michael Magno was yelling “chug, chug, chug” to his peers during a mock game of beer pong, a drinking game in which ping pong balls are tossed into cups of beer that must then be chugged.

In the rear bedroom of the house, students reenacted a sexual assault scene. A female who had been given GHB, a date rape drug, was being held down in bed by one assailant as his cohorts videotaped.

In a nearby bathroom, Douglas High junior Kylie Mosley was throwing up in the toilet from alcohol poisoning while her friends raided the medicine cabinet looking for pills.

Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School student Jacob Weimer, 12, was pretending to be on methamphetamine and Ecstasy, playing with glow sticks in a dark bedroom.

“It’s good we are doing this,” he said. “Parents can see what kids are doing.”

Each tour ended with Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies Greg Shields, Ignacio Gonzalez and Chris Griffith demonstrating party dispersal techniques.

The kids were lined up and given sobriety tests. Magno was placed in handcuffs.

“This is a way to educate kids about the consequences of parties,” said Sheriff Ron Pierini. “It sends a clear message: This is what can happen to you.”

Pierini said his office frequently comes in contact with teenage parties and issues about 200 citations a year.

“This also educates parents about the ramifications of alcohol,” he said, “not only alcohol abuse, but that alcohol is a gateway to other substances.”

After the tour, parents were ushered into the garage for debriefing and counseling. On hand were representatives from the juvenile probation department, Tahoe Youth & Family Services, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other groups.

Partnership Prevention Coordinator Linda Gilkerson said the night was a success.

“These are serious issues, and they (the students) did a great job,” she said.

“I’m glad we have the Partnership,” said Sandy Lopez, a 16-year-old Douglas High STOP student who helped coordinate the event. “They spread awareness. They give every teenager the opportunity of a longer life.”

For more information about the Partnership of Community Resources, call 782-8611.