The Alcohol Drinking Exception for Adults

A federal law commonly known as the Buckley Amendment protects the privacy rights of college students. Without a student’s permission, it is illegal even for parents to obtain copies of academic grades, attendance records, medical records, or other educational information. Parents can’t even find out if their students have stopped going to classes, are under the care of a school psychiatrist, or are flunking out of school.

But recent legislation has made one exception. The college can, over the objection of adult students, inform their parents if their students have been caught sipping a beer or even been seen in the presence of other students under the age of 21 who are drinking, although not drinking themselves because they serve as designated drivers.

This is incredible. After all, adults age 18 through 20 can legally:

  • marry
  • vote
  • adopt children
  • own and drive automobiles
  • have abortions
  • enter into legally binding contracts
  • operate businesses
  • purchase or even perform in pornography
  • give legal consent for sexual intercourse
  • fly airplanes
  • hold public office
  • serve on juries that convict others of murder
  • hunt wildlife with deadly weapons
  • be imprisoned
  • be executed
  • be an employer
  • sue and be sued in court
  • serve in the United States armed services and give their lives defending their country
    and otherwise conduct themselves as the adults they are, both legally and socially.

But these adults can’t legally consume an alcohol beverage. They can’t even have a celebratory sip of champagne at their own weddings.

It’s the alcohol drinking exception for American adults.


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