This weekend marked the kick-off of a series of high school homecoming events in our county.
Homecoming’s a special time that, every autumn, brings students, alumni, and their families together for an event-filled weekend. School pride and community engagement rule. It’s tremendous fun for everyone – but, for our teenagers, the excitement can be a bit overwhelming and can lead to lapses in judgment.
The overall revelry and abundant opportunities to party with friends provide many temptations for our teenagers. There’s the big football game, of course – but don’t discount the additional festivities such as parades, pep rallies, and school dances. More often than not, there’s a post homecoming party that’s usually held off campus – and can extend well into the night.
Unfortunately, for some, such activities can lead to underage drinking – and driving – which all too often leads to dangerous consequences.
According to the U. S. Department of Transportation, 16-20 year olds have the highest risk of being killed in a traffic crash of any age group. Responding to this, local police forces step-up their DWI patrols during homecoming events - and are on special lookout for underage drinkers.
Here are a few simple actions we can take to keep our kids safer – and actually help them have a better night in the long run:
Talk to Your Kids: Have a conversation about the homecoming events. Address your concerns right up front. Let your kids know what you expect of them. Clearly establish a curfew time and most importantly, let your child know you are there, under any circumstance, if they need you.
Foil the Pre-Game Plan: Try to foil any activities your child might be planning before the officially sponsored homecoming events begin. Parties beforehand only create more time and un-monitored opportunity for your child to find him or herself in a situation they will later regret.
Arrange for Safe Transportation: Find a reputable party bus or limousine service that will not tolerate underage drinking in their vehicle. For party busses, ask the limo company if they provide a chaperone service. Another tip: Transportation services aren’t just for our teens. If your class is celebrating an anniversary dinner or off-campus party, consider hiring a professional service to handle your driving needs, as well.
Homecoming fosters a unique synthesis of alumni camaraderie, professional networking and community pride. Let’s make sure everyone walks away from the experience proudly and safely.