"Please don't buy us beer."
That's the message some Fox Valley area teens sent Thursday afternoon, in stickers they placed on packages of beer in liquor stores in St. Charles and Geneva.
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The campaign is part of a statewide effort called Project Sticker Shock, and the kids slapping 600 yellow stickers on the cases of beer came from Geneva, Kaneland, Rosary, Burlington Central and St. Charles East and North high schools. They participate in Operation Snowball, a 13-school student leadership program that stresses making healthful choices and staying away from drugs and alcohol.
"I think it is going to spread awareness," said 18-year-old Emily Bailey of Campton Hills, a senior at Rosary. Her group put stickers, plus window clings and posters, at two Lundeen's Discount Liquors stores in St. Charles. Another contingent visited Sav-Way Liquors in Geneva.
The materials, supplied by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, remind people that it is against the law for an adult to buy alcohol for a minor, and that it is against the law to supply false identification for the purchase of alcohol.
"WARNING: Providing alcohol to minors is illegal, unhealthy and unacceptable," the stickers read.
Operation Snowball was scheduled to meet Thursday night with Kane County Associate Judge Clint Hull, to hear about the consequences of alcohol abuse he saw as a prosecutor and now as a judge.
Geneva Police Sgt. Tim Baker, supervising the group at Sav-Way, said people who provide alcohol to minors can be fined up to $500. But, he said, people often don't consider there are civil consequences too. If you serve to a minor, and that person hurts themselves or another person as a result of being intoxicated, you can be held responsible.
Baker and St. Charles Police Chief Jim Lamkin don't think much of the reasons people give for providing alcohol to underage drinkers, including the oft-heard statement that "... it is impossible and unrealistic to keep kids from drinking, so you are better off supplying it at your house so that at least your kid isn't driving around."
"I think it is a mistake. It sends a message that if you are underage, it is OK to have drinking parties. How about trying to impress on them (teens) to do the right thing?" Lamkin said.
Baker is angered, as a parent, by other parents who provide alcohol.
"They do not have the right to decide for my daughter to be served alcohol. ... It is not a rite of passage. There are so many horrible things that happen because of it. They have no right," he said.
Project Sticker Shock starts Alcohol Awareness Month. For details, visit dontbesorry.org.