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Parents must set example for children

Some adults have done a rather poor job setting an example for their children during this pandemic. Defiance on mask guidelines, pressure to carry on with large family gatherings, disregard of curfew … it is no wonder some younger folks have little idea what to think. But a group of parents in Hamilton County, Ohio, set a new standard for “What were you thinking?” when they agreed to let their teenagers attend an open-invitation birthday party … on a tightly packed bus.

According to the Mount Healthy (near Cincinnati) Police Department, a parent booked a party bus for a child’s 14th birthday and posted the “OPEN INVITE” on social media. News reports of the event suggest the poor bus driver might not have been informed about what awaited him at work that day. He pulled into a mall parking lot, where the teenagers flooded out and began getting into fights.

When police arrived at the scene, the driver “disregarded” an officer’s commands to get the kids back onto the bus and “fled from the scene.” Though clearly he should not have disobeyed the officer, one can hardly blame him.

It took officers an hour to break up all the fights, try to get the children to distance themselves from one another (they were already maskless), and get them to call their parents to get rides home.

“Parents – it is your responsibility to manage your children,” the police wrote on Facebook. One would think that would go without saying. The parents who booked the party bus are facing charges, according to media reports. But what about all those others, who let dozens of young teenagers attend the party — a dangerous situation that was loaded with potential for getting out of hand, even if it didn’t already violate multiple social distancing orders.

Mid-Ohio Valley parents, by and large, do a good job of setting an example and keeping their kids in line.

But the story out of Mount Healthy is a reminder as we enter a season of that would normally be filled with holiday parties. Set the rules and enforce them — and this year, the rules should include whatever you need to do to keep your kids and your entire family safe.

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