The Mahwah Municipal Alliance and Police Department are planning a “town hall” type forum to discuss what Police Chief James Batelli called a “major concern” of many township parents - underage drinking.
On February 8, the MMA will put on a panel discussion on teenage drinking for parents in the community. Audience members will be given the opportunity to ask expert panelists their opinions on related issues.
The panel will be made up of a mix of local, legal and medical experts on underage drinking and other substance abuse problems. Batelli will join Mahwah Police Captain Steve Jaffe, Mahwah High School Principal John Pascale, an emergency room physician, Counselor and Parent Educator Lisa Paterson, Attorney Tom Hanrahan, and representatives from the High Focus Center Substance Abuse Program, on the panel.
According to Batelli, the forum will cover a wide range of topics surrounding underage drinking and teenage substance abuse, “from liability to medical [issues] to law enforcement concerns, parents will be able to ask relevant questions to professionals that work in these fields on a daily basis.”
He said the panel will give advice on areas of uncertainty, as well. “A lot of parents have concerns about hosting parties and their liability exposure if certain incidents occur. Our panel will be able to address these and many other issues,” Batelli said.
The police chief said because of trends the PD has observed in Mahwah, he feels the forum is necessary for the community.
“Unfortunately there is been a spike in alcohol use and substance use in underage juveniles not only in Mahwah, but throughout the area,” he said. “These are serious issues and one of the most effective ways to address this is to educate parents on what is occurring within our community.”