Tuesday: 1:20 P.M. At The Party

Never too young for a beer buzz or a smoke

With school out early, about 50 kids gather in the backyard of the home of a sophomore. There's talk of a keg in the basement, and a steady stream of hopefuls goes downstairs to check it out. They return, disappointed that there's no keg but sporting Cokes spiked with bourbon. There's more smoke in the air than in a New York City bar, and not all of it comes from cigarettes. In a corner of the yard, three kids are smoking marijuana.

The timing of this Tuesday bash is unusual, but the scene isn't. Student parties are a weekend staple in...

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