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Student responsibilities unchanged by moving prom

From being a chance to dress up and dance in the high school gym, prom has catapulted to becoming, at least in the state of New York, an excuse for teenagers to spend the night out clubbing in Manhattan or road-tripping to the Jersey shore. In an effort to curb the underage binge drinking that ensues, Pearl River High School in Pearl River, N.Y. has decided to schedule prom on a school night.

By making this decision, the school administration is infringing on what is certainly a parental as well as an individual responsibility. Students should be educated enough to understand the dangers associated with alcohol. They should also be aware of the health risks involved with excessive drinking. It should not be the school’s responsibility to ensure that students make the right choice when leaving prom. By changing the night of prom, all students, including those who were not breaking the rules, are punished.

In light of the bad reputation of prom after-parties, parents need to be able to enforce better rules and restrictions on their children as they see fit. The school can assist, but cannot be responsible for making sure that every single student has returned home safely ­— the parents need to take care of that.

Changes such as shifting prom to a Wednesday or Sunday night, rewarding students with breakfast and recreational activities when they show up the next day, or punishing them by not allowing them to participate in academic work if they don’t are ineffective ways to deal with a larger problem. These are stop-gap measures that won’t actually prevent students from embracing alcohol and late-night adventures on their prom night. The real solution is educating high school students about the risks and responsibilities that begin after prom ends, an education that doesn’t fall solely on the school but must also be discussed at home.