Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced Thursday that her office will contribute to funding substance-free after-prom and graduation events for 12 county school districts.
The following school districts applied for and received $500 each from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in support of substance-free events include: Belmont, Billerica, Framingham, Hopkinton, Marlborough, Melrose, Natick, North Reading, Reading, Wayland, Wakefield, and Woburn.
Funds will help defray expenses associated with all-night after-graduation parties, senior picnics and a graduation cruise hosted by these schools.
“With prom and graduation season upon us, this is a fun and exciting time of the year for students and their families,” District Attorney Ryan said in a statement released Tuesday. “We want it to be marked by wonderful celebrations and terrific memories that will last a lifetime, not by a preventable tragedy. We support our schools’ efforts to organize substance-free post-prom and graduation events to ensure everyone has a happy and safe time as they celebrate this important milestone and all that they have accomplished.”
According to the DA's office, Each year many teenagers are injured or killed in alcohol related traffic fatalities on prom and graduation nights. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for young adults between the ages of 15-19 and many of those deaths are caused by impaired or distracted driving. There are steps that parents and adults can take to encourage young people to make the right choices around drinking and driving.
In addition to encouraging young people to attend substance-free events, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office also provides the following safety tips for parents to help discourage drinking and driving.
Offer your teen transportation alternatives. Offer to provide your teen rides or to have a sibling or family friend provide rides on prom night. If your teen does not want you to pick them up, you could suggest that a sibling or family friend be designated in your place.
If you are able to, hire or share professional transportation for your teen’s prom night. Make sure you have a discussion with the driver prior to prom night about your expectations that the ride be alcohol-free. Sometimes even hired drivers may agree to purchase or furnish alcohol illegally for their minor passengers; you can take steps to prevent this by talking directly with the driver.
Provide your teen with the phone number of a reputable local taxi company and make plans to pay for your teen’s taxi fare for the night. Remember, this is a small cost to keep your child safe.
Give your teen a cell phone or other mobile device to communicate with you directly throughout the night. Make sure you have your own cell phone or mobile device with you during the evening to facilitate texts or quick calls to check in.