Up For Debate: Prom on a School Night

May 7th, 2010 by Kathy McManus

Is it the best solution to curb teen hijinks?

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

It’s prom season — and prime season for the all-night right-of-passage known as the after-party, frequently fueled by alcohol and questionable teen judgment. At Pearl River High School in New Jersey, for example, post-prom partying has traditionally included raucous trips to Manhattan clubs or the Jersey Shore, where last year 50 students were cited by police for underage drinking at a motel.

But not this year. The New York Times reports that in an effort to “curb excessive after-parties,” Pearl River administrators deliberately scheduled the 2010 proms on school nights — a Wednesday for the juniors, a Sunday for the seniors. “And the morning after each one,” Wu writes, “the principal and the Parent Teacher Association will be waiting at the school door; anyone not there by 7:34 AM sharp will be unable to make up academic work or participate in sports events that day.”

Students protested that they were being punished “for the bad behavior of a few,” and called for a boycott. But principal Bill Furdon told The Times that if the new threats don’t work, future prom-goers who fail to show up for school the next morning “may not be allowed to walk at graduation.”

“Honestly, it just seems pointless,” said Bridget Mathis, a 16-year-old junior planning to skip the event. “When you’re thinking about having a good time, you’re not thinking of going out on a Wednesday night.”

Are school-night proms a good solution to irresponsible teen behavior?