The long-awaited three-day weekend was looming and the buzz on campus was the party being planned at her schoolmate’s house. She was excited to be included in the group text – something that had yet to happen in her high school years. She only hoped her parents would let her go. Not wanting to appear nerdy but knowing she had to ask, she said to a friend, “Will an adult be there? My parents will want to know.”
Her friend looked at her knowingly and said, “Yeah, but you don’t have to worry. It’s a cool house.”
Arriving at the party Friday night, she was shocked to see a house packed with kids, booze flowing and no adults in sight. She felt awkward when one clearly drunk student said, “What are YOU doing here?” Nervously, she looked for a familiar face and spotted her friend. “I thought you said an adult would be here,” she said.
“The parents are here,” she said, laughing. “They just don’t care what we do. I told you, it’s a cool house.”
In contrast, a new program is kicking off in a Houston high school this week called Eagle House, named after the school’s mascot. By becoming an Eagle House, parents make a bold statement to the community that they will support each other in raising teenagers to be people of character. Eagle House parents agree to actively chaperone teenagers in their homes. They pledge to not provide or allow the use of drugs, alcohol or pornography or to permit gossip, hazing, bullying or humiliation on their watch. They are open to contact from their community regarding teenager activity in their house, and their family’s name and contact information are listed with fellow Eagle House members on a protected page on the school website. The school’s mental health professional will handle questions about parents’ adherence to Eagle House standards, clearing school administrators from this duty. After all, this community program should be managed by the community. This concept is very adaptable for elementary and middle school homes, where many parents today crave support around issues/questions surrounding advanced technology, video games, sleepovers, provocative entertainment, etc.. As we say, we are all in this together.