Many students will be walking across the stage to receive their diplomas, but it’s the celebration afterward that has officials worried about potential dangers caused by alcohol and drugs.
Perth County OPP cautions high school students to keep safe as they attend graduation festivities, especially unsupervised parties including those held in fields or bushes.
Officers say alcohol and other drugs will be present at these gatherings which can expose young men and women to unnecessary risk.
Const. Laura Brown says a lot of people attend these parties, and officers are called to investigate criminal reports of assault, drug-and-alcohol offences, sexual assaults, thefts, mischief and other related crimes.
“Unfortunately, when alcohol and drugs are involved, some poor decisions are made. It can lead to really dangerous and serious consequences,” Brown said
These parties draw a large crowd as they are typically shared on social media, and distance doesn’t seem to be a barrier.
“We know now that young people are willing to make the drive, and so parties that might have been smaller in intention to be held within one geographic area suddenly start having attendees coming from all over the place,” Brown said.
“It is not uncommon for several counties whose borders touch, to have students and young folks that will go back and forth across county boundaries to attend parties in other locations.”
OPP tells parents and caregivers to be aware of risks, particularly those who will be hosting end-of-year parties. Property owners are liable for anyone that gets injured on their property.
Brown says hosts need to keep an eye on guests to ensure they do not leave their property heavily intoxicated and drive.
She adds hosts should be aware of laws under the Liquor Licence Act which outlines the responsibilities of parents and indicates the legal age of who can consume alcohol.
Police encourage parents and caregivers to speak with their children about the associated dangers of attending parties.
Officials are not trying to stop these celebratory events. They want to ensure public safety.
“As a partygoer, we want you to celebrate this milestone at the end of the year, and graduation certainly, but we want you to do it safely and responsibly,” Brown said.
Young people need to be aware of Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (R.I.D.E) checkpoints, which is a police initiative to deter people from driving impaired. If suspected of driving impaired, drivers are subject to a breathalyzer.
Anyone who needs information and tips on how to host a safe graduation party can go online at www.madd.ca
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