Prom weekends don’t need alcohol

Published 1:22pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013

On March 29, Chelsea High School hosted an event designed to show students that prom weekend should include cute clothes, fun dates and dancing — and no drugs or alcohol.

During the event, called “Every Fifteen Minutes,” which took place over two days, students saw what can happen when teens drink during prom weekend. Students viewed a simulated accident scene, complete with mangled cars, dead and injured students and emergency rescue personnel, including a helicopter.

Students also saw a mock trial for the drunk driver, as well as a mock funeral for the accident victims. Some students were asked to dress in black shirts, white face paint and coroner’s tags to represent “the living dead.” They walked around Chelsea High without interacting with any other students.

According to students who took part in and watched the event, it did its job. Junior Tiffani Stuart said she would “never forget” what she saw, and urged other students to think of the long-term consequences when making short-term decisions: “I really hope people will stop and think twice about drinking and driving after prom. They may think it’s really cool, but it’s not and it can have really bad consequences.”

We applaud Chelsea High School and the Shelby County School System for finding a creative way to make sure students understand the dangers of drinking and driving.

However, students need to understand that dangerous driving goes beyond drinking and getting behind the wheel of a car. Texting while driving can end with the same horrible outcome, as can talking on the phone while driving. It’s essential that teens heading out to prom — always a memorable event — are not distracted while they drive.

Proms are coming up all over Shelby County, and local law enforcement will undoubtedly be out in full force to try to prevent accidents and other dangerous situations.

Parents, be certain you go over the dangers of distracted driving with your teens before prom weekend and set your expectations for how they should behave. Shelby County’s high school students deserve to have wonderful prom experiences, rather than terrible memories.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.

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