Avoid Underage Drinking And Other Prom Drama

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My high school prom took a dramatic turn when two guys got their tuxedo jackets mixed up. One of them belonged to my date, who kindly offered to keep my wallet in his pocket. That’s the jacket another young man mistakenly grabbed off the back of a chair before heading to an underage drinking party that got shut down by police well after midnight—as kids scattered in every direction. 

When an officer found my wallet in the abandoned jacket and called my parents down to the station, they woke me up to come along and sort out the misunderstanding.

Parents, as your students get ready for the 2018 prom season, I hope no such mix-ups come their way. At the same time, my longtime work as a certified prevention specialist compels me to remind you: underage drinking is still a serious concern today.  

Recent polls show alcohol use is the number one social issue students face, especially on prom night. Statistics from the AAA Teen Survey and Mothers Against Drunk Driving indicate the prevalence of drugs and alcohol in the lives of teenagers.  

A majority of teenagers—75 percent—say they’ve been peer pressured into drinking. Further, 31 percent admit to having used drugs or alcohol on prom night. In turn, 19 percent say they have ridden in a car with an impaired driver. Of all teens involved in fatal automobile crashes, 20 percent were reportedly under the influence. 

How can we help these bright young stars of tomorrow resist that urge to imbibe today? Here are several steps to avoid underage drinking and other prom drama. 

Set ground rules. A prom-going student may be just around the corner from adulthood, but you still call the shots. Agree to check-in times to confirm whereabouts and company, and enforce a curfew. Through plain communication, discourage drug and underage alcohol use—it’s illegal and can increase a variety of risky behaviors, including sexual activities for which a teen may not be prepared.

Find the exit. Even when all the ground rules have been followed, teens can wind up in unexpected situations where drinking and drugs are present. Equip your student with cash for cab fare if a quick getaway is needed. Also, let your teen know that you (or another trusted adult) will be available any time during the night to provide a safe ride home. 

Share resources. Reach out to your kids in ways that resonate with their generation. Teenagers may roll their eyes when an adult tries to talk about drinking and other tough coming-of-age topics, but they might click on a link in a brief, well-timed text with less resistance. Centerstone shares free information to help students, parents and educators tackle issues facing adolescents at its website.  

Here’s to safe celebrations and wonderful memories. May all of your 2018 prom events be carefree as well as alcohol and drug free—and be sure to keep up with your jacket.

Ashleigh Hall, CPS II 




Marc Gravitt Is The Best Choice For Register Of Deeds

I tell people that I’ve known Marc Gravitt, “since he was just pup”.  During my many years as CFO and executive vice president of what used to be Union Planters National Bank (now Regions Bank), I worked with Marc on many projects.  Most recently, serving for many years as the former CEO and president of the Associated General Contractors of East Tennessee here in Chattanooga, ... (click for more)

Catherine White Is Fair And Knowledgeable

My name is Lucy Wright and I have been practicing domestic relations law in Hamilton County, Tennessee for the past 21 years.  I have had cases with Ms. White over the years, and have always found her to be a fair, knowledgeable, and diligent opponent. I have also had the pleasure of using Ms. White as a mediator for many of my domestic cases. It is in her role as a mediator ... (click for more)

Robert Gillisse Was Pilot Killed In Plane Crash At Collegedale Airport

The pilot who was killed in a plane crash on the runway of the Collegedale Airport on Friday evening has been identified as Robert Gillisse, 62, of Ooltewah . Charles Swain, who is the director of the airport, said the plane was a total loss. It was a single-occupant plane. He said the plane was taking off when it crashed. He said Mr. Gillisse frequently had flown out of ... (click for more)

East Ridge To Build Open-Air Pavilion Near City Hall

East Ridge plans to construct an open-air pavilion that will include restrooms and a concession area near City Hall and the old McBrien School.  It will be part of a Town Center for East Ridge at the Tombras Avenue property. The city is also applying for a $500,000 grant to help convert Pioneer Park into a refurbished park with a splash pad. The firm of Hefferlin and ... (click for more)

Orange Overwhelms White, 34-7, In Tennessee Spring Game

KNOXVILLE – After almost a month of spring camp and four quarters of ones versus twos, one glaring question remains: how much will the fall arrival of graduate transfer Keller Chryst change the dynamic of the battle for starting quarterback?   While new Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt was calling for an electric atmosphere at Saturday’s Orange and White game, the ... (click for more)

Stoker, Tate Prevail In 50th Chickamauga Chase 15K

They couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day weather-wise for the oldest and longest running race on the Chattanooga Track Club’s schedule. Temperatures were cool, but not cold, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.   Add to that the fact there was very little wind and you have perfect conditions for the 50 th Annual Chickamauga Chase. A lot has changed with this ... (click for more)