By Mike Glenn
Updated 1:06 pm, Monday, April 16, 2018
High school proms are meant to commemorate the completion of a high school career and anticipate the start of the next chapter in a student’s life. It’s typically one of the most anticipated school events of the year.
But a snazzy tuxedo or glamorous ball gown won’t prevent some party-goers from making bad decisions that could follow them for years.
On April 11, Crime Stoppers of Houston held a “Prep for Prom” briefing at Mayde Creek High School, 19202 Groeschke Road. Representatives from Crime Stoppers, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Katy ISD Police Department were on hand to answer questions and provide information about keeping safe and out of jail on prom night.
“There are things that will cause destruction and disturbance in your lives, especially for a high schooler who has potentially accepted admission to a college and possibly has a scholarship,” said Harris County prosecutor Sherin Daniel.
The Best Buddies prom is no ordinary prom. Students from general education programs and students with intellectual disabilities are paired together, and now they’re having the party of the year. The program hopes to help young people have a chance
She said their purpose for coming was to simply inform high school students about the real-life ramifications of what could happen because of a bad decision made on a single night.
“You think you’re invincible. You think bad things are not going to happen to you,” Daniel said.
While some students often plan to drink on prom night, Daniel said the law takes a dim view of attempting to purchase alcohol if you’re under the legal drinking age of 21 in Texas.
“You could be made to do eight to 40 hours of community service depending on the facts of the case,” Daniel said.
Depending on the details of the case, getting caught with alcohol could be anywhere from a Class A to Class C misdemeanor. While the blood alcohol level for drivers in Texas is .08, it’s a moot point for minors who aren’t allowed to drink at all, Daniel said.
“You’re not allowed to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol,” she said.
While some states have legalized or at least decriminalized marijuana – either for recreational or medicinal use or both – Texas is not one of the them, said Christine Lu, another Harris County assistant district attorney at the meeting. Lu also warned against sharing even legally-obtained prescription medicine with other students.
“Even if you may have a prescription for something, you can’t go ahead and pass that drug on to someone else,” Lu said. “That is illegal. Be sure to carry that prescription with you at all times.”
In today’s world, social media abuse misuse also can cause problems for prom goers.
“Once you put something on line, you can’t take it back. It lives on the internet forever,” said Jenna McGaw with Crime Stoppers.
She said social media history could also be tracked by future employers.
“Be ‘in the moment,’” McGaw said. “Have fun at the prom. You don’t have to document every moment.”
Katy ISD parent Denita Holmes has a son preparing for his senior prom and thought the information was very helpful. She wasn’t aware that charges could be increased for criminal activity that takes place in a school environment – including a prom.
“If you get caught with a beer at a school event, it’s a heavier charge. That was a surprise to me,” Holmes said.
Holmes has an older son who went to the prom several years ago. She attended because she wanted to learn if anything had changed.
“The people who come to this stuff usually have the kids who don’t get into trouble,” Holmes said. “But you can never be too careful.”
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