What’s the surprising drinking exception for adults? A federal law commonly known as the Buckley Amendment protects the privacy rights of college students age 18 through 20. Without a student’s permission, it is illegal even for parents to obtain copies of academic grades. The same is true for attendance records, medical records, or other educational information. Parents can’t even find out if their students have stopped going to classes. If they’re under the care of a school psychiatrist. Or if they are flunking out of school.
Law Makes One Exception
But the law makes one exception. Colleges can, over the objection of adult students, inform 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. Even though not drinking themselves, because they’re serving as Designated Drivers!
This is incredible. After all, adults age 18 through 20 can legally:
- 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
- be an employer
- hunt wildlife with deadly weapons
- be put in prison
- sue in court
- suffer execution
- serve in the United States armed services and give their lives defending their country.
They can also otherwise conduct themselves as the adults they are, both legally and socially.
But if they taste a beer while at college, the Buckley Amendment violates their right of privacy as adults. Or even if they’re abstaining from alcohol and are serving as a Designated Driver!
It’s the alcohol drinking exception for American adults age 18 through 20.