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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Prom & Graduation Safety: Tips to Bring Your Teenager Home Safe, Uninjured, and Alive

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Prom and graduation season are here once again; its celebration time! High school proms can be expensive events when you consider the cost of a prom dress, tuxedo, prom tickets, photos, flowers, dinner, hairstyle, manicure, and pedicure. It is not unusual for the total bill to reach $1,000. Graduation is no different. There is the dress, suit, hairstyle, manicure, pedicure, photos, gifts, dinners, family gatherings, classmate parties, and senior night. However, cost is a minor concern for most parents when it comes to these events. Their biggest concern is the risky behavior associated with prom and graduation – drinking and driving, distractions while driving, drugs, unsafe sex. And, they will worry until their teen arrives home safely. What should be a joyful and exciting event will, sometimes, result in pain, suffering, even death. It is critical that parents talk to their teens about these dangers. Here are a few tips that can help keep your teen safe and make these occasions something they fondly remember.

1. Know who’s driving all evening: Are your kids or a friend driving, is there a designated driver, or will they be renting a limo?

2. Make sure your teen has a way of contacting you throughout the evening and make sure you can contact your teen; warn them of the dangers of talking or texting while driving.

3. Get the evening’s itinerary as well as a list of names and phone numbers of each person with your teen.

4. Talk to your teen in advance. Make sure your teen knows how to handle difficult situations; talk to your teenage about drinking and not driving, avoiding accepting a ride from a drunk driver, rejecting offers of excessive alcohol or legal & illegal drugs, or not succumbing to pressure to engage in sexual activity.

5. Insist that no changes be made to the evening itinerary unless you grant permission.

6. Know who is supervising all events in which your teen is participating.

7. Make sure your teen has money to cover alternative transportation costs (cab?), if necessary.

To “drive” home the point that prom (and graduation) should not include alcohol, a group of police, rescue and fire personnel staged a mock DUI crash in the parking lot of Bradley Central High School in Leveland, TN. The students watched as the two cars crumpled upon impact. The blood was fake and the accident staged, but the message was real.

“Drinking and driving is one of the worst mistakes anyone can make, said Randa Rhodes, the teen actor who called 911 in the mock accident. “It costs a lot not only for you, but for all the other lives you are impacting.” “Texting and driving is a huge issue right now,” said Taylor True, another student actor. “Most kids think, ‘It’s only a little drink or it’s only one text message. Nothing can happen to me,’” said student Cody Glover. This could directly impact them for the rest of their lives.”

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