AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam High School seniors will celebrate their Senior Ball Friday night, and they have pledged not to drink and drive or get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking.
The group of 300 teens signed the “Arrive Alive Prom Pledge” Wednesday when students met with Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, who spoke to them about the consequences of drinking and driving, ahead of the special night.
“The point of this is to just remind students that their school is here for them, their parents are here for them, their family, friends are available, and to give them a sense of comfort,” Santabarbara said. “If they need a ride on prom night, we’d rather have them call and get that ride.”
The Arrive Alive pledge is an agreement between students and their parents or guardians. Students agree not to drink and drive or get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking, while the adults agree to come and pick their child up if they get a call — no questions asked.
“The last thing we want to do is for you to get into a vehicle with someone that’s been drinking, or is under the influence,” Santabarbara told the students. “We want to make sure that you’re thinking about that, because prom night is about making memories that you’ll cherish for [a] lifetime. This is a time in your life where you’re celebrating a number of things.”
The decisions people make on the road can have “profound consequences,” and statistics do not lie, Santabarbara said. One in five teen drivers involved in a car crash had alcohol in their system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Young drivers between ages 16 and 20 are 17 times more likely to die in a car crash when they have been drinking and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08%. Drivers who have had even a little bit of alcohol can cause a car crash that can be fatal, Santabarbara said.
“It’s a serious thing, it’s more than just a piece of paper,” Santabarbara said. “It represents a collective that you’re all going to support one another on prom night. Prom night is about having fun, but we want to make sure that you’re doing it safely.”
Amsterdam High School Principal AnnMarie Giles said the pledge is important because the students are so important to the community.
“I’ve come to love these kids, and they are like family in some cases,” Giles said. “I want to make sure they stay safe, and make good choices, and that everyone has a great time enjoying the events that we offer them. We have the Senior Ball this weekend and then we also have the After Ball that goes until about 4:30 in the morning.”
It is part of the school’s responsibility to provide fun and safe time for all of its students, Giles said.
The Arrive Alive pledge is available to high schoolers in Montgomery and Schenectady County school districts represented by Santabarbara.
Contact reporter Natasha Vaughn-Holdridge at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @ _natasha_7.