Local schools encourage prom safety

| April 21, 2017

COSHOCTON COUNTY – Prom is always a time for juniors and seniors to come out in their finest attire, have fun with their friends, and dance the night away. Unfortunately, some students make poor choices the night of prom that affect their lives and the lives of their loved ones for the rest of their life.

Local school districts in the county are trying to educate students on how to have a safe prom and to make good decisions on prom night.

“We just want to help students understand you can have a great time at prom, the after prom, go party with your friends and celebrate end of the year achievements without making destructive decisions especially with drinking and driving,” said James Rose, advisor for SADD at Coshocton High School. “Some of the consequences that happen in their lives now can affect them into adulthood.”

Rose also said the safe prom program is a great time for students to talk with other students about making good decisions not only on prom night, but throughout their lives.

“It’s a good opportunity for peers to talk to each other and say, hey I’m going to make good decisions on prom night, are you?” said Rose.

Coshocton High School had their safe prom program all week last week which culminated with a school-wide assembly where community leaders came and answered questions in the form of a panel about the consequences of drunk or distracted driving and other destructive decisions. A public service announcement video was also shown during the assembly.

In addition to the assembly, the school is also having students sign a poster pledging to be safe on prom night that will be displayed inside the school on prom night. Students are also advertising with different signs around the school advocating safe behavior on prom night, and the morning announcements have statistics each morning about the dangers of drunk driving or destructive decisions.

“We get a new set of kids every year who attend prom,” said Matt Hartmeyer, advisor for SADD at Coshocton High School. “It’s so important to make sure we have a good prom where the students are safe and community members are safe.”

Coshocton will also have an after-prom at the high school on prom night, May 6, from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. There will be swimming, movies, and games in the gymnasium including turning the basketball court into a laser tag. There will also be door prizes.

“This is another chance for us to bring them to a safe space,” said Rose. “It’s a fun and enjoyable time for students to hang out together.”

Thanks to various donors in the community, River View High School now has a driving simulator that shows what it’s like to drive while under the influence.

“It’s really important for the driving simulator to be used so kids get the opportunity to explore what it would be like before they decide to do it,” said Nancy Dickerson, SADD advisor at River View High School. “The longer we have the kids behind the wheel in the car with the opportunity to make their error in a safe place, the better.”

The SADD club conducted a fundraiser for the desktop driving simulator that is similar to the ones used in hospitals and for military.

Dangerous driving is something that has touched Dickerson personally.

“Both of my kids were killed in a car accident in 1992,” she said. “It was April 25, 1992 and the roads were slick and they were driving too fast.”

The SADD club also randomly tapped students one day during the week and told them they have just been in a car accident.

“We do that because that’s the way accidents happen,” said Dickerson. “They’re completely random.”

At graduation, River View High School hopes to be able to have a mock car crash.

“Graduation is another time of celebration but also a time when kids make poor decisions,” said Dickerson. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to teach our kids to use that as a tool to help save their lives.”

Karen Overholt at the Coshocton County Career Center said that the students had a kick-off assembly and talked about what it means to be safe. Students there also signed a pledge to be safe on prom night.

“This time of the year becomes a time of celebration and we want kids to do that in a safe way so it doesn’t cause pain to their friends in the community,” she said.

On Friday, the career center passed out smarties “Be a smartie”, Airheads “Don’t be an airhead”, and dum-dum suckers, “Don’t be a dumb-dumb” as a fun reminder to make smart choices on prom night.

“It’s great every year to have a reminder to have a fun time, but to do it in a responsible way,” said Hartmeyer.

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Category: Education

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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