April 13, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 87

Safety tips offered as prom season begins

Prom season kicks off tonight with Wakefield-Marenisco High School’s prom at the Wakefield VFW. Seven area proms will be held through May 11. School and other public officials have tips for precautions to make sure the celebrations stay safe and everyone has a good time.

Katie Perttunen/Daily Globe
MELODY SAUBERT, Wakefield-Marenisco School’s junior prom advisor, puts finishing touches on a table Friday at the Wakefield VFW in preparation for prom.

For Wakefield-Marenisco, once the teens are at the prom site, they must stay there until it is over, as they will not be readmitted if they leave, said Melody Saubert, W-M high school secretary and junior prom advisor.

For the past 15 years, Ironwood’s prom has had its meal beforehand on site, which ensures that the students are on time for grand march, according to Luther L. Wright High School Principal Michelle Kanipes.

Gathering the students before the dance avoids the issue of pre-prom drinking or drug use and prevents drinking and driving, said Kanipes. “This has been an effective safety net,” she said.

Students involved in extra-curricular activities are also warned to follow the rules of their teams and clubs so that they maintain eligibility for awards, Kanipes said.

The majority of proms in Ironwood have been successful with students being well behaved, she said.

Police and court officials are aware of the dangers that can arise from drinking and driving around proms and other parties. They have tips for parents and teens to stay safe.

Parents should know where their kids are going and who they will be with after prom, according to Sgt. Al Graham of the Michigan State Police.

“Teens can sign a contract with their parents, agreeing to what behavior is permitted and what consequences will be for breaking the contract,” Graham said.

Iron County District Attorney Martin Lipske said drinking and driving is a top concern on prom night. He said he wants kids to have a good time but to do it safely by following the law and making good decisions. “Our area needs no more sadness this time of year,” he said.

Gogebic County Sheriff Peter Matonich said that it is important for parents to set a curfew and enforce it. Parents ought to know who is driving, encourage seat belt use and require their teens to stay away from parties with drug or alcohol use, he said. Teens should be instructed to answer telephone calls and texts throughout the evenings, Matonich said.

Prom schedule

Wakefield-Marenisco, April 13, Wakefield VFW

Hurley, April 20, Iron County Memorial Building

Ontonagon, April 20, at the school

Ironwood, April 27, Ironwood Memorial Building

Bessemer, May 4, A.D. Johnston High School

Ewen-Trout Creek, May 4, at the school

Mercer, Wis., May 11, Mercer Community Center