Guest column: How to celebrate graduation safely

Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

It’s graduation and summer break time once again — celebration time! This can be expensive, however, cost is a minor concern for most parents when it comes to these events. Their biggest concern is the risky behavior associated with graduation events and school break parties — drinking and driving, distractions while driving, drugs, unsafe sex.  

Yes, it happens. And it’s critical that parents talk to their graduates about these dangers. Here are a few tips that can help keep your teen safe and make this time of year something they fondly remember:

1. Know who’s driving all evening: Are your kids or a friend driving, is there a designated driver, or will they be renting a limo?

2. Make sure your teen has a way of contacting you throughout the evening and make sure you can contact your teen; warn them of the dangers of talking or texting while driving.

3. Get the evening’s itinerary as well as a list of names and phone numbers of each person with your teen.

4. Talk to your teen in advance. Make sure your teen knows how to handle difficult situations; talk to your teenage about drinking and not driving, avoiding accepting a ride from a drunk driver, rejecting offers of excessive alcohol or legal and illegal drugs, or not succumbing to pressure to engage in sexual activity.

5. Insist that no changes be made to the evening itinerary unless you grant permission.

6. Know who is supervising all events in which your teen is participating.

7. Make sure your teen has money to cover alternative transportation costs (cab?), if necessary.                                        

8. Report suspicious activity/people to school officials immediately.