New rules try to curb teen parties

In response to increasingly rowdy parties, the Parks and Recreation Commission plans to enact stricter regulations aimed mainly at non-school-sponsored high school events.

If approved, the new guidelines will require an $800 refundable deposit and proof that security guards have been hired. Student parties will be limited to The Grove.

"We've been having problems over the past two years with high school students renting our facilities and not having proper supervision," said Recreation Superintendent Rachel Teige.

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Underage drinking and drug use were among the most frequent problems, she said. In one instance, partiers caused more than $1,200 in damage, including a broken door and a hole punched in the wall.

Current guidelines require a $150 deposit and one chaperone for every 20 kids, but Teige said those rules were often broken. Parents would sign the paperwork and not show up, or send college-age kids to supervise. The new rules stipulate two uniformed security officers, hired by the party's hosts, to search all bags at the door.

The Parks Commission has already been limiting parties thrown by high school students to the Grove.

"We figured The Grove was the perfect place because it shares a parking lot with the police station," Teige said.

Deputy Police Chief Rich Walsh said he had heard several complaints from people in the community, but he said he felt the new guidelines would be effective.

"I think that it's an excellent start," he said. "I would be surprised if it doesn't resolve our problems."

In addition to the new guidelines, Teige also met with high school Principal Jeff Schlecht to ask that seniors not be allowed to include dances as fundraisers for their required senior projects.

"We won't allow the kids to have The Grove as a venue for senior projects, which I think is appropriate," Schlecht said.

Teige said the new guidelines were meant to make the events better and safer for everyone.

"We want everyone to be able to use our facilities," she said, "but we want them to use them appropriately."

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