WAKEFIELD — Once again, prom season has arrived and Wakefield Police Chief Rick Smith and the men and women of his department are working to make sure that the end of the year celebration is a positive experience for students and parents.
This year, the Wakefield High School Senior Prom is scheduled for Monday night, June 1, at the Danversport Yacht Club. The Grand March, which preceeds the prom, will be at 5:30 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Common.
While prom can be one of the most memorable and exciting nights for students, it’s likely one of the most nerve-wracking for parents. Chief Smith encourages adults to talk about the potential dangers of the night with their children.
“We never want students to be in a situation where they feel unsafe,” Chief Smith said. “By keeping the dialogue open between parents and their children, we can help ensure that students attending the dance do so in a healthy, fun manner that leads to happy memories.”
Here are tips for students to help them stay safe before and after the prom:
Think responsibly: Don’t feel pressured to drink, smoke, use drugs or have sex on prom night. It’s OK to say no, even if others are participating.
Travel safely: According to the Centers for Disease Control, teenage drivers are four times more likely than older drivers to crash. Always wear a seat belt, no matter how short the trip.
Don’t drink and drive and don’t get in a car with a driver who has been drinking
Consider hiring a driver or limousine service who can devote full attention to the road
Be alert: Dating violence is an issue that can affect heterosexual or same-sex couples and those in a long-term relationship or people who just met. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, physical or sexual. Know beforehand what your sexual boundaries are and communicate them to your partner. Don’t be afraid to tell a family member, friend or call 911 if you or someone you know is abused or in danger.
Parents can play a large role in helping their children have a safe, yet memorable evening.
Communicate: Have a pre-prom talk and get students’ itineraries for the evening, including whom they will be with, where they’ll be going before and after the prom and the phone numbers of where you can contact them. Come to a fair decision on a curfew and express any concerns about their health and safety.
If students are not coming home right after prom, set up check-in times throughout the night and following morning.
Plan ahead: After-prom parties should be adult supervised. Students are recommended to always go with a buddy and notify parents or guardians where they’ll be and how to reach them.
Adults should not let teens drink at home, even if no one plans to drive and keys are confiscated. Keep alcohol at home in a locked cabinet. Parents are criminally and civilly liable if they allow underage drinking to occur in their homes.
Be available: Let students know they can call you at any time for help, advice or a ride, with the promise to not shame or embarrass them in front of others.
“Parents can help ease their concerns with prom by working with their children to ensure no matter the situation, they can call home for help,” Wakefield Police Department School Resource Officer Kelly Tobyne said. “Students are more apt to reach out to adults if they’re assured their actions will not be reprimanded in front of their peers. The Wakefield Police Department’s recommendations can assist both parties in having a great night at the prom.”