Prom season is upon us. Students at both Blind Brook and Rye High School will celebrate their prom this week, after spending months booking limos, picking out dresses and organizing post-prom events. However, for high school administrators and Westchester County, safety is the number one concern.
Most of the preventative methods have come from Westchester County's annual prom safety initiative.
"Education and enforcement go hand in hand," County Executive Robert P. Astorino said in a statement. "Police will check limousines and confiscate any alcohol on board. But it is parents who have to take responsibility -- not to look the other way. Underage drinking is illegal and is not a rite of passage. Everyone must play a part to keep our kids safe."
With that, the county has created brochures and resources for parents on everything from booking limousines to alcohol awareness.
In Rye, administrators have taken extra precautions to ensure students' safety by providing transportation.
Rye High School seniors will celebrate their prom on Friday at Lake Isle Country Club in Eastchester from 7-11 p.m.
According to Caryn Furst, spokesperson for the Rye City School District, students are required to meet at Rye High School for a pre-prom event, where students and their parents gather and take pictures. After pre-prom, every student is taken by bus to the prom.
"Everyone amasses at the school and is bussed to and from the prom," Furst said. "No one is allowed to take limos."
Blind Brook's senior prom begins today with a pre-prom event on Birch Lane. After the event, students will head to the prom, which will be hosted at Willow Ridge Country Club in Harrison beginning at 7 p.m.
Unlike Rye, Blind Brook does not provide transportation to and from the prom, according to the district's Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Ross.
"The school does not get involved with transportation. That is something left up to the parents and students," he said.
Students can participate in after prom activities if they choose, but these events usually aren't monitored by school districts. However, in Blind Brook it's been customary for parents to arrange an early morning breakfast at Crawford Park for students the day after the prom.
Other school districts have taken it a step further. In Pearl River, school administrators have scheduled both junior and senior proms for school nights, as is the case in Rye and Blind Brook. However, if students miss school the next day, they won't be allowed to participate in any sports or after school events and cannot complete any academic work they may have missed. The measures were implemented to make sure students did not drink alcohol during prom night, Pearl River school officials have said.
In Westchester, the county has tried to ensure students' safety by having police check prom limos while they are on patrol. The county has also sent letters to every high school principal in the area to explain its annual prom safety initiative.
"Each year less and less alcohol is being confiscated from young adults heading to their proms," according to Public Safety Commissioner George Longworth. "However, we will remain vigilant to ensure that all of Westchester County's high school proms remain alcohol-free."