Prom Playbook: How Schools Can Keep Kids Safe
With prom season in full swing, countless teenagers are taking to the streets to celebrate their high school years. Sadly, some of those students will not live to experience the next phase of their lives due to drunk driving and other dangerous activities commonly associated with prom.
A survey of more than 2,500 high school juniors and seniors conducted in 2010 by Liberty Mutual and SADD found that 90 percent believed their peers are more likely to drink and drive on prom night. Of even more concern is the fact that only 29 percent of teens say that driving on prom night is very dangerous.
For decades teachers, administrators and parents have worked to curb the dangerous activities that too often accompany prom. EducationWorld has put together a playbook addressing common pitfalls as well as proven strategies.
Talk to Kids
This may seem obvious, but a surprising number of adults feel awkward talking with children about the dangers that risky behavior brings. According to The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, a non-profit agency tasked with reducing underage drinking and drug use, open and frank discussions about the topic are essential and can begin as early as elementary school.
“As long as the discussion is developmentally appropriate, there is no age too young to begin talking about how your child takes care of his or her body,” The Partnership said in A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Underage Drinking. “Talking about the issue of alcohol before there is an immediate need to discuss the subject will make it much easier to bring up this topic once the child reaches the age when first experimentation often occurs.”
With respect to high-schoolers, the Partnership advises adults to arm teens with information about local laws, consequences for breaking those laws, and the reasons these rules exist.
Educators should join parents in making sure that kids receive the right messages and have the necessary skills in order to make good choices on prom night. Students may seem as if they aren’t listening, but research shows that they in fact consider what caring adults say.
Stop the Scare Tactics
Along with prom, another time-honored tradition appears every spring at high schools across the country. Student, parent and school groups organize mock car crashes to illustrate just how dangerous drunk driving can be. While these types of programs have students’ well-being at heart, experts agree that they have only a very short-term impact on actual youth behavior. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health science panel found in 2004 that programs relying on scare tactics to prevent children and adolescents from engaging in violent behavior are not only ineffective, but may have damaging effects.
Keep an Eye on Them
Many schools host prom-to-dawn events that give teens an all-night event to attend where they will not be able to drink. These events are often held at family fun centers, go kart tracks, arcades and the like. Students arrive after the prom and are not permitted to leave once they are inside. If it is discovered that they have left, they are not permitted back in. The goal is to keep as many prom-goers off the streets.
Although this may seem heavy-handed, students appear to attend these events in large numbers. They even get heavily involved in the fundraising to secure venues. Involving parents is essential, and it can also be helpful to mobilize local hotels, restaurants and bars so that they pledge not to sell to minors.
Make sure to start the planning process early, since events like this require a lot of effort. Also, don’t forget to reach out to students who are unlikely to attend an all-night event; these teens may be at greatest risk on prom night.
Educate and Watch
When all is said and done, these are the major strategies adults can use to discourage risky behavior at prom time. While many schools take steps like mandating breathalyzer tests before entering prom, this policy may only move risky behavior to another location. The most effective way to protect teens is to keep as close an eye on them as possible and ensure that they fully comprehend the consequences of their actions. For a comprehensive set of tips that schools and communities can use to plan safe proms, check out SADD’s Planning a Safe Prom guide.
Article by Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
Copyright © 2011 Education World
Safe Sober Prom Second Annual Fall Speaker Program a Success
(Winston-Salem, NC) September 28, 2017
The Winston-Salem based non-profit, Safe Sober Prom Night, is pleased to announce the second annual Fall Speaker Series. Jeremy Bates, a.k.a. “the Hope Dealer” joined David Daggett and Griff Shuler of Daggett Shuler, Attorneys at Law and Safe Sober Prom Night for a week of inspiring and uplifting presentations at participating Safe Sober Prom Night Schools.
Daggett Shuler, Attorneys at Law, is kicking off the 28th year of Safe Sober Prom Night with a new tradition – a fall speaker series. After listening to feedback from their 48 participating high schools, the speaker series was moved from spring to fall to expand the impact of the Safe Sober Prom Night program on students in our community. Now students kick off the school year with the Safe Sober Prom Night message, gearing them up to make the right choices throughout the school year.
This is the third straight year that Jeremy Bates, a.k.a. “the Hope Dealer” has been with the program. Growing up in a family defined by addiction and dysfunction, Jeremy Bates knows first-hand the importance of developing resiliency, cultivating dreams, and never losing hope. Living through trauma, drug abuse, and abandonment as a child, Jeremy recounts his personal history through his one-of-a-kind presentation.
Jeremy is able to lace authenticity and vulnerability in his stories, while providing audiences the tools that provided him hope in a series of hopeless situations. His story is shared through live, interactive music, and takes audiences on a journey while challenging them to make healthy choices – including not drinking underage or driving drunk – that reflect the greatness they deserve.
“Jeremy’s message pairs perfectly with that of Safe Sober Prom Night.” says co-founder David Daggett. “Jeremy’s message can help these kids set off in the right direction at the beginning of the school year. We are thrilled to have Jeremy with us again as the speaker for the Fall Speaker Series of Safe Sober Prom Night.”
Safe Sober Prom Night is now the largest and longest-running privately funded initiative of its type in the United Sates and is beginning its 28th year in Northwest North Carolina. Perhaps the most well-known event of the Safe Sober Prom Night Program is Pledge Day.
David Daggett, Griff Shuler, and volunteers from the staff at their personal injury law firm, Daggett Shuler, visit each school of the nearly 50 participating schools personally before prom to encourage students sign a pledge promising to stay safe and sober on prom night. Each student who signs a pledge card receives a free t-shirt, proclaiming their commitment to being safe and sober to their peers and their community.
Additional information available upon request.
Daggett Shuler, Attorneys at Law, principal office is based at 2140 Country Club Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104. The firm handles personal injury claims including serious injuries, automobile accidents, workers’ compensation and social security disability. They have received national recognition for their Safe Sober Prom Night program. www.SafeSober.comwww.DaggettShulerLaw.com.
Daggett Shuler Law – You Can Depend on Us