Senior Week – Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare

“Senior Week” may be every parent’s worst nightmare. Should I let my child go to the beach unchaperoned for the week or not? Do I give into peer pressure from other parents, or will my student be ostracized if they don’t go to this expected event?

This practice seems to be an east coast tradition. When I talk to those from other states, they haven’t heard about such activities and even look at me in a way that questions – what is this?  And why is this a thing? For those of us who grew up here, it’s a way of life. But my curiosity got me wondering when did this tradition begin??

I knew that I had gone to the beach the summer after I graduated from high school with a few friends. We weren’t lucky enough to have a family condo or house to go to, so we went down for a weekend to camp. Back then the drinking age was 18 for beer and wine. We were good kids and followed the rules, so our time was spent taking care of our friend’s nasty sunburn. I wasn’t aware that this was a “thing.” Years later at a high school reunion I learned that some of my classmates went to the beach and partied. When they publicly told their stories at the reunion, many laughed and cheered them on. I wondered if they were still the “cool” kids, and I missed the boat. (Or had I?)

Unfortunately, our culture has glossed over the concept of underage drinking being illegal or dangerous and has normalized it. Furthermore, many people from our area have accepted Senior Week as a rite of passage and simply accept that graduating seniors are going to party. As senior week approaches, I would encourage parents to evaluate their views around underage drinking and to consider if they think it’s acceptable, regardless of how unpopular their opinions may be.

If you have a student who will be participating in Senior Week this year, please consider attending HC DrugFree’s special presentation Senior Week: Staying Safe in Ocean City. This program provides a great deal of information to help your student make smart choices as they head down to the beach with their classmates. Learn more

Guest blog submitted by a Howard County parent.

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