Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cancel Dances, Parent Escorts: How Should High Schools Handle Underage Drinking?

High schools target drinking, More breath tests, harsher penalties was the headline in the Boston Globe on Saturday. Concerns surrounding an abundance of underage drinking have prompted Belmont High School to cancel dances this fall. At a recent Lincoln-Sudbury home football game, students could not enter unless they were accompanied by a parent. At Winchester High School dances, parents must sign their students in at the door.

The question is to what ends should schools go to address the issuse of students drinking? At BHS, we do not use a breathalyzer or have parents escort their students to dances. We have administrators greeting each student as they enter the dance and we do not allow containers of any sort at dances or football games. Are we doing enough to deal with the issue of underage drinking?


  1. The answer to that question might be in the number of alcohol related incidents at such events. If simply disallowing containers and the presence of administrators have put a stop to alcohol related problems, then the answer is yes. However, whether there has been issues is not known to outsiders.
    I do feel a parent sign in is appropriate, because it places responsibility on parents to bring kids to these events sober. While, at the event, it is the responsibility of the school to make sure drinking doesn't occur during the event.

  2. The question of whether BHS is doing enough to prevent alcohol-related problems at school events can not be answered until parents know how often these incidents occur. First we need to assess the severity of the problem, then we need to inform the parents about the situation , then we can decide if extra prevention measures need to be taken. Remember, parents will not be happy about signing their teens into dances if they think there is no underage drinking problem in Burlington.