Spring is an exciting time for high school students across North Carolina, particularly juniors and seniors. If they haven’t done so already, most schools will be hosting prom in the next week or so. And of course, graduation is just around the corner.
If you have a teenager at home who will be participating in either prom or graduation (and related graduation parties), you may want to take some time to discuss two important topics: Underage drinking and drunk driving. Both behaviors become common around this time of year, and teens could use a reminder that these activities are dangerous legally as well as physically.
Schools and safety advocates around the country are working to remind teens of the physical dangers of driving while intoxicated or riding with a driver who has been drinking. Some are even going to great lengths to show what it looks like for emergency responders to pull drunk driving accident victims from crashed and burning vehicles.
But many schools may not be doing enough to remind teenagers that criminal charges for underage drinking or drunk driving could seriously jeopardize their plans for the future. Convictions for these offenses (and sometimes even just charges) can impact college admittance, scholarship opportunities and employment opportunities.
Most teenagers are both smart and good-natured, but the teen years can be a dangerous time. Peer pressure and momentary lapses in judgment can lead to behaviors with serious consequences, and many teens may not be able to predict those consequences in the heat of the moment. That’s why it’s important for parents to discuss good decision-making before their teenager goes off to celebrate prom and graduation.