Unauthorized Proms are Dangerous for Students


Riley Keiter

Since the announcement of prom hit, many juniors have been annoyed by the decision to only invite seniors. It’s one of the many COVID-19 guidelines enforced by the school; not inviting juniors will keep numbers low. Some students have been angry enough to start their own parties on the same night, completely unregulated by school authorities.

Some of these parties are small get-togethers between friends, but others have the potential to be much more treacherous. 

The first issue in these parties is the obvious danger of illegal substances; there are no teachers or administrators to make sure alcohol and drugs are not involved. On a night when everyone believes they are supposed to let go and have fun, there will undoubtedly be much substance abuse, even if it’s heard to place at the parties themselves.

Some hosts have offered that there will be parental supervision, but in most cases there will not be enough to truly combat narcotics use. In one instance, it was reported that five adults would be needed to watch 160 teenagers. In some instances, the adults could be in their 20s with no relation to a student at West.

Even those students who attend the parties but choose not to participate in substance abuse will face certain dangers.

Obviously, every person there will have a cell phone, likely equipped with Snapchat and Instagram, and teenagers are happy to share their experiences. There will undoubtedly be many photos and videos taken of partygoers. If a photo is taken of a student who is near any sort of drug or alcohol, their life would be dramatically changed. A student could be kicked out of a sport, 21st century program, activity, or club. They could face serious legal consequences that would carry on to their record into adulthood; that kind of scandal could even result in colleges revoking scholarships or entrance.

Not to mention the danger we’ve been facing for the past year: COVID-19. Making sure masks and distancing are in place will be near impossible if there are so many people. Even holding a gathering of over 50 is violating Johnson County guidelines. 

The hosts themselves often recognize this danger as well. One was reported giving all partygoers a waiver to sign that acknowledged his parents were not liable for any drugs, weapons, or COVID-19 cases. No person would be allowed in until they signed their waivers.       

For juniors and underclassmen attending unregulated proms, it would be wise to check who is setting up the event and go with people who you know are safe. An unsafe party could not only ruin the night, it could also affect your high school career and beyond.

“It’s unfortunate that kids feel like drugs or alcohol are such a part of high school, when I think it’s important for kids to be able to find happiness without those things,” Assistant Principal Josh Umphrey said. “It’s dangerous, no doubt, and we want kids to be safe.”