Early college students team up to take down underage drinking

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A  group of ninth graders at the Early College High School are calling for a tougher penalty in their re-write the state's underage drinking law.

The "Project Citizen" program run by the South Carolina Bar Association is a state competition in which students address a problem in their community. The students say Horry County is a hot spot for underage drinking because people travel here to party.

So they are looking at what changes can be made to benefit the community. From there they come up with new policy based on their findings. The underage drinking problem in the community is something they all have experience with.

The current fine for underage drinking is $262.50, which they think should be tripled to $787.50. But through research, surveys and Facebook posts, what they've found is parents often pay the fines...not the teenage drinker who breaks the law.

The policy proposed by these students provides an option for the underage drinking to be penalized with community service.

The students presented their policy on Thursday, and the South Carolina State Bar will review its entries, along with other's from students around the state before choosing a winner. 

It's more than a high school project, though. Their teacher says council is actually passing the policy along to state legislatures urging them to amend the current underage drinking law.

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