INSIGHT: About Homecoming

By Dr. Terry Macaluso, Head of School

Dear Eastside Prep Families—

I’m writing to you now because the homecoming dance is on Saturday, October 15 on campus from 8:00 PM until 10:30 PM.  There are two important things for you to know about this social event.  First—all Upper School students are welcome.  It’s fine to come to the dance with a date.  It’s fine to come to the dance with a group of friends.  It’s fine to come to the dance as a single person.  It’s a party.  There are more activities than just dancing.  It’s the culmination of Spirit Week—and it’s meant to provide an opportunity for all Upper School students to have fun together.

Second, please end the evening when the dance ends.  Please do not plan to extend the evening with additional parties or other gatherings where tobacco, alcohol, or any other substance that is illegal for adolescent consumption may be available.  There is a legal age at which such substances may be consumed—and there’s a reason that age limit exists.

Parents/guardians, no matter what the intention, and no matter the earnestness accompanying a student’s commitment to avoid the use of illegal substances—it is likely to be impossible to manage. Students, please do not put yourself in a situation in which you are likely to be surrounded by people who will use illegal substances regardless of the risk.  Please don’t put yourself in a situation in which you feel pressured to participate—even when you’d prefer not to.

We have had situations in which parents have allowed their Upper School students to host parties—after school dances or on any given weekend—because they’re told that there will not be a problem.  Any parent who believes that should plan to be in residence during the event.  This is what makes this such a serious problem.  No one knowingly and willingly says, “It’s a great idea for a bunch of teens to spend the night drinking at my house!  I’ll just take the keys and it will be all right.”  There is an exceptionally high degree of probability that it will NOT be all right.

A small group of EPS classmates spending time in EPS households is a very positive thing.  We’re a close enough community that families readily enjoy that kind of interaction.  The problem is that a large number of teens—some of whom may be unknown to you—is not comfortable to manage.  It’s not just the liability that a family accepts if a student is harmed after having been drinking, whether driving or riding with another student whose reactions are impaired; it’s also important to understand that nobody can closely supervise behavior during the party.  Any number of potential risks exist between the beginning and the end of a gathering of students where illegal substances are available.  Things can also go awry during the party—while those present are unaware.

So—Parents/Guardians—Please do not allow your home to be the site of a gathering of students unless: (a) you are present, (b) you know the students, and (c) you plan to confiscate any illegal substances that are brought in to your home.  Students—Please don’t pressure your parents or one another in order to be the “cool kid” in the school by hosting an unmanageable event.  It is senseless to risk your future—or maybe even your life—for a few hours on a Saturday night.

I encourage students to attend the dance and to enjoy the company of their peers.  But if it’s important to plan something to occur after the dance, do it in conjunction with people who share your belief that illegal substances have no place at any gathering of EPS students.