62 High Schoolers arrested at post-prom bash

Over 100 high-school students from New Jersey were caught and breathalyzed this past Friday night when police broke up a party in West Dover, VT, the Rutland Herald reported on Sunday. The police ended what was supposed to be a three-day after-prom party, taking place at three houses that the teens had rented, and 62 students received citations for being in possession of a malt beverage. Such a large scale party once again brings to light the issues of underage drinking and binge drinking, and the party’s isolated location in Southern Vermont highlights the problem of the secretiveness, stealth, and complex planning that often accompanies underage drinking—something that can increase its dangerousness.

The New Jersey teens are most likely juniors and seniors in high school and, therefore, would still be unable to drink even if the drinking age was 18. However, the furtive nature of their party and the huge quantity of alcohol present (police found 18 kegs of beer, 8 bottles of vodka, and 5 cases of beer) demonstrates a culture of secret binge drinking characterized by strategic planning, execution, and excessiveness that transcends the high-school/college boundary and is present amongst high school and college students, alike. Not being allowed to drink in public, such as at bars and restaurants, fuels this binge drinking culture, as young adults are driven to drink heavily in short amounts of time, in an attempt to “pre-game” parties and events.

The recent Vermont party also raises the issue of parental enabling of underage drinking, since the fact that the teens had three rented houses and such a large amount of alcohol suggests that parents may have been involved in planning the party. Recently, social host laws have been enacted in some communities to try and inhibit this parental involvement by claiming that parents will be held responsible and steeply fined for underage drinking in their homes. As the details of the Vermont party are investigated further, more information as to the involvement of parents will hopefully become available.

2 Responses to “62 High Schoolers arrested at post-prom bash”

  1. Richard Kent Says:

    So, by your logic, we need to lower the drinking age to 16 so these juniors and seniors could drink legally.

  2. Maggie Says:

    To Richard-

    This isn’t a drinking age issue. The most important thing to consider here is the drinking behavior of the students, not the age at which they are doing it. Their attempt at this covert party illustrates the dangerous and excessive binge drinking behavior that is often observed amongst young people, today.