PROM PROBLEMS – DON’T BE ‘THAT’ PARENT
Prom season is upon us and with it comes potential for trouble. We visited with John Lacy, the Overland Park Police Department’s Public Information Officer. He shares a real concern for underage drinking, citing some parents as part of the problem.
435: Is the big problem with prom the after parties?
Lacy: Prom itself is heavily chaperoned with teachers, administration and even parents so if a couple comes [to prom] and there is the odor of alcohol on their breath, the school is going to take the appropriate measures.
The problem is at the after parties, where parents are trying to be cool and do not want to act like parents. I don’t know what type of high school career some of these parents have had, maybe they weren’t the popular kid, and now they want their child to be the popular one so they will host the party. These are the parents that need to understand when they host a party like that, and we arrive on-scene, the parents can be cited for contributing [alcohol] to a minor. Most parents don’t want their children going to another person’s house and consuming alcohol without their permission or knowing it’s happening.
435: What is your view on party buses?
Lacy: Party buses have become a huge issue, and we have a right to get on those buses if we suspect anything. We hope that a parent doesn’t get the bus as a way for kids to consume. How are these kids going to get home safe? Is the bus going to drop them off? You never know what could happen on that bus: sexual assault, alcohol or poisoning, to name a few. Parents need to know that getting your child this bus isn’t a cure all. If there is no adult supervision, it is not safe.
435: What do you want kids and parents to know to prepare for prom night?
Lacy: If you suspect a child is consuming alcohol, do not let them get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Call their parents and let them know to come get them. Do not let friends drive under the influence. Take and hide keys and if push comes to shove, call the police. We are not out to bust every child. Some kids just need to be taken home and dealt with by their parents. It is not numbers driven or anything like that. We want the child to be safe, but if there is an issue with alcohol consumption or addiction, we want that child to get help. We want parents to know that kids also imitate what they see their parents do. We want the parents to be more aware of their surroundings when they are consuming alcohol.
If you start consuming more, your child is going to think that is the way I need to party. It completely comes down to the parents—to insure safe prom, we need the parents help.