For many students, this is the most exciting time of their educational career. For many parents, this is also a time that makes them very anxious. It’s prom season. Weeks of preparation, planning and anticipation leading up to an evening of celebration and high emotions. Too often, though, the evening does not end with fond memories but a tragedy involving alcohol, drugs, driving and someone getting hurt. All it takes is one misguided decision that can ruin (or take) a young adult’s life and cause unspeakable pain to others involved.
As we embark on another prom season this May, let’s talk to our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends about ways to enjoy a great prom night that is free of drugs and alcohol and full of good times, sensible decisions and safe outcomes. Let’s make sober the new cool! Discuss with your child your expectations for the night and the negative consequences of poor decisions regarding alcohol and drugs. Having an itinerary for the entire evening with pre-prom and after-prom activities and transportation to and from planned out is a good way to avoid on the spot decisions that are not thought through and involve someone driving who really shouldn’t. Exchange phone numbers with your child’s friends and parents and stay accessible throughout the night in case of an emergency. If there are no after-prom activities planned and you offer to have a party at your house, keep in mind the social host law that prohibits serving alcohol to minors.
Here in Cayuga County, many schools host after-school prom parties. Students attend their prom and will then be dropped off at the location of their after-prom party (at their school or another community center). Food and non-alcoholic drinks will be served and a number of activities (music, karaoke, dancing, games, movies, etc.) are offered to keep the students entertained throughout the night until they are picked up by their parents.
The Cayuga County Drug-Free Community Coalition is advocating for safe proms by adding cards with positive messages to prom orders at local florists: Roses are red, violets are blue. Make good decisions, because your community needs you! Don’t drink and drive! #SafeProm2019 #YouMatter.
Timothy Donovan is a member of the Cayuga County Drug-Free Community Coalition.