Homecoming should be fun time, not jail time

Published 1:23 am Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Last week Straughn High School celebrated its homecoming, and this weekend Andalusia High School and Red Level School will celebrate theirs. Homecoming is a wonderful time for everyone involved — a chance to reconnect with old friends and remember the high school “glory days,” as Bruce Springsteen put it.

Homecoming is always a celebratory experience, but it is important to make intelligent choices so that a night of fun and revelry doesn’t end up as a night in the local jail.

“It’s a great time to show school spirit, but people need to remember that’s the only type of spirit they need to be partaking in,” said Lt. Lance Price of the Alabama Beverage Control board.

The ABC board and other law enforcement agencies always enforce underage drinking laws and other alcohol-related ordinances, but you can be sure that they will be paying attention even more this weekend.

It is against the law for anyone, regardless of age, to consume alcohol on the property of a public school. It is also illegal for any person to knowingly sell, give or dispense any alcohol to any school student under the age of 18, while on school property.

Covington County has a well-known problem with underage drinking, and the temptation will be great for teenagers to participate in parties where alcohol is present. But they do so at their own peril. An arrest in high school is a black mark on a person’s record that will haunt him or her for the rest of his or her life.

Although alcohol-related incidences will by far be the most serious problems associated with homecoming weekend, police will also be keeping an eye out for vandalism and other criminal mischief. There is a fine line between a harmless prank and a criminal act, and students need to remain aware of those differences as they enjoy their homecoming activities this week.

Teenagers certainly should take advantage of this week and their high school experience. As any adult would tell a high school student, “Enjoy these days, because before you know it, they’ll be gone forever.”

Let’s hope that our local high school students and their families make smart choices during homecoming so that it is a fun time, not a night of doing time.