What's Wrong With Homecoming?
Movies have given me the impression that Homecoming is a fun night where the whole school participates and has a great, safe time. But if this is true, why did we need party buses for Homecoming, and an email sent out to advise parents about the dangers taking place inside them?
The email Principal Stensrud sent out, at the request of the FPO (Fairview Parent Organization), informed the parents about the alcohol consumption that is taking place on some party buses.
Thinking back to freshman year, I was so excited for the Homecoming dance. What happened? What, in just one short year, caused me to not want to go?
Maybe it’s due to the upperclassmen who have said, “Nobody goes to the dance," but what’s the reason behind this?
My experience as a Homecoming group planner this year gave me the unique and sometimes stressful experience that came with party buses.
It all started when my best friend and I decided to get a party bus this year with all our friends. What’s the harm in that?
As we got closer to the date and people began to pay for the bus, questions kept popping up, “How are we going to sneak the alcohol into the bus? How much alcohol will be there?”
This put me in a dilemma. Should I make some of my friends angry by not allowing alcohol into the bus, or go along with it and swallow my worries?
As the days went by, and I was no closer to an answer, my mom told me Mr. Stensrud had just sent out an email concerning party buses and the activities that may take place in the bus.
The email Mr. Stensrud sent out urged parents to check in on the situation in several ways: review the bus company’s policy and responsibilities regarding alcohol and drugs, meet the parent who is monitoring the bus, and be aware of common ways students sneak alcohol onto the bus.
The email went on to say, “The majority of issues that we have dealt with at dances related to student use of alcohol and drugs have unfortunately been with students on ‘Party Buses’.”
Several parents called my mom, asking, “Is your daughter allowing alcohol to be brought into the bus? Are you sure this is safe?”
A majority of my friends were outraged by the school email, while the parents were shocked and they all thought the same thing, “Should we trust our child?”
Where does that leave us? As students, should we be angry about this email if it’s meant to inform parents of what could take place on some party buses?
A senior who spoke with me only with the condition of anonymity said, “I won't be drinking, but other kids on the bus will, therefore the bus won't go to the dance. Because police use breathalyzers at the dances, so that's why no upperclassmen who go on party buses go to the dance.”
Teenagers tend to think, myself included, that we are invincible. “I can drive home with a little buzz, nothing will happen,” is a thought many teens have had once they’ve taken one drink too many.
According to DoSomething.org, “The 3 leading causes of death for 15 to 24-year-olds are automobile crashes, homicides and suicides – alcohol is a leading factor in all 3.” Statistics like this show just how breakable teenagers are.
After Stensrud sent out the party bus email, nobody brought up the topic of alcohol to me, or if they did, it was to plead that there be none on the bus. Did the email achieve its goal? In my eyes, yes, it may have saved a life.
“In many situations we have heard that students intended to be safe, only to drop off students at different locations where they ended up behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol they consumed on the bus,” said Mr. Stensrud in the email.
This year, I learned as part of my party bus experience that it is possible to have a great time with a group of teenagers without the need of alcohol. I believe the email may have played a key role in lowering the amount of underage drinking at Homecoming.
Mr. Stensrud said, "I've been a principal for 18 years and in those 18 years, I've lost 6 kids to drinking and driving. I don't want to lose any more."
As we continue to grow as adults, we need to understand the consequences of our actions.