Prospect of boozy post-prom parties nags Alvirne principal

HUDSON – Senior prom is supposed to be a gala, end-of-year celebration, a rite of passage that spawns a lifetime of fond memories, Alvirne High principal Bryan Lane told the School Board on Monday night.

But as this year’s prom approaches, Lane said, talk that’s been going around school has him growing increasingly worried.

Lane told board members he’s received information that several parents are making plans to host post-prom parties at which alcohol would be available.

“What I’ve been hearing is very disturbing,” he said. “I understand that at least five parents are looking at sponsoring these parties.

“Whether (the parties) are in Maine, Hampton, or the Lakes Region, it doesn’t matter,” Lane added, referring to a document he recently received that apparently addresses parents’ plans to hold the parties out of town.

“No matter where the party is held, it’s wrong if there’s alcohol present.”

Lane said he brought the document to Hudson police and has been discussing the matter with school resource officer Shelly Megowen.

He asked board approval to draft a letter detailing the problem and mail it to parents, which was granted by unanimous vote. The letter may also be sent by e-mail, as well as appear on “Edline,” a forum on the school’s Web site.

In 2007, five Alvirne prom-goers were arrested for internal possession of alcohol at the Castleton in Windham. One, a juvenile, was also arrested for possession of drugs, according to a Telegraph story. The incident prompted school authorities to institute behavior guidelines for students at proms and other such off-campus events.

Lane called underage parties “ugly” affairs at which teens frequently engage in binge drinking, which often leads to tragic results as a result of alcohol poisoning or traffic crashes that kill and maim.

“Every year, my worst day is the day after the school prom,” Lane said. “I’m always worried I’ll pick up the newspaper or get a phone call with bad news.”

Lane said that high school students often forget that one arrest can haunt them for a long time to come. “They get arrested, then they have a criminal record,” he said. “It affects their applications to college, their careers, everything, for many years.”

In his letter, Lane said he plans to describe alternatives to alcohol parties to parents. “When my son graduated, we had 120 kids at the house,” he said. “They came in and stayed in . . . we didn’t let them go out, even to their cars – that’s where they do stupid things. Kids often think they’re invincible,” he added.

“I’ve been to 31 student funerals in my career as an educator,” Lane told the board. “I don’t want to go to any more.”