Education

Want to go to prom in Beaufort County? Better get your parents' permission

Bluffton High School stages mock prom night car crash

Bluffton High School students volunteering as crash victims and first responders from the Bluffton Police Department, Beaufort County EMS and the LifeStar Air Ambulance help the Bluffton Township Fire District put on a pretend fatal drunk driving
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Bluffton High School students volunteering as crash victims and first responders from the Bluffton Police Department, Beaufort County EMS and the LifeStar Air Ambulance help the Bluffton Township Fire District put on a pretend fatal drunk driving

Don’t be surprised to see tons of teens in formal dresses and tuxedos this weekend.

And next.

It’s officially prom season in the Lowcountry.

Six area high schools are hosting their junior and senior proms this weekend.

Four more proms are being held next weekend.

Talk about dancing the night away.

But prom isn’t the same as it was “back in the day.” Students can’t just buy a ticket and show up anymore.

They have to earn it.

In some cases, parents even have to work for their teens’ rights to attend.

At Hilton Head Island High School, all students attending prom have to have at least one parent or legal guardian attend a prom safety meeting before the student can receive his or her prom ticket.

Hilton Head Preparatory School, John Paul II Catholic School and Battery Creek High School all require students and parents to sign permission slips or “prom contracts.”

May River High School will be hosting its first ever prom next weekend. According to Media Specialist Kimberly Exley, “each student and a parent must attend one of the scheduled prom safety meetings” before the students can receive their prom tickets.

May River, Bluffton and Beaufort high schools require prom attendees to go to “Prom Promise,” a live re-enactment of a fatal drunken-driving crash complete with emergency vehicles, first responders, local law enforcement and even a rescue helicopter. The event encourages students to “promise” not to drink and drive on prom night.

While Hilton Head Preparatory School doesn’t have a re-enactment, it did host a Thursday morning prom discussion with parents and local law enforcement.

All of these requirements are meant to emphasize student safety. The schools are trying to back away from the Hollywood version of high school proms —where alcohol makes its way into the fruit punch and students sneak off to hotel rooms.

But the rules don’t end with permission slips and safety meetings. They spill over into the event itself.

Though the rules vary by school, here’s a general list:

▪ Prom tickets must be purchased in advance.

▪ Prom dates typically must be no younger than freshmen in high school and no older than 20.

▪ Some high schools are requiring students to sign in and out of prom. Hilton Head Island High School, for example, will allow parents to request to see their child’s sign-out time. Other schools may not allow students to leave the prom until a certain time.

▪ Dress codes may be enforced. For John Paul II, that code includes formal gowns being “tasteful, appropriately covering the body.” Males must wear a tuxedo or suit; dress shirts must be worn at all times and undershirts must be worn under white dress shirts.

▪ Students may be subject to searches or even breathalyzers before entering or exiting the prom.

▪ Outside food, drinks or containers may be prohibited.

In most cases, those failing to follow the rules will simply be denied entry to or kicked out of prom. However, the consequences could go beyond the event, resulting in detention, suspension or even expulsion at some high schools.

The details

Hilton Head Christian Academy will get the party started on Friday, April 21, kicking off their prom night at 7 p.m. at the Country Club of Hilton Head at Hilton Head Island Plantation. The prom will include dinner, dancing and even a late-night breakfast following the main event.

Hilton Head Island High School, Hilton Head Preparatory School, Bluffton High School, Beaufort High School and Whale Branch Early College High School all have their proms scheduled for Saturday evening, April 22.

Both Hilton Head high schools and Beaufort High School’s proms are set to begin at 8 p.m. on their respective school grounds.

Bluffton High School’s prom will be held from 8 to 11:30 p.m.at Hilton Head Beach and Tennis Resort.

Whale Branch’s prom is being held from 7 to 11 p.m at Elegant Event Hall in Beaufort .

Four more proms will be held Saturday, April 29.

Beaufort Academy will host its prom from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Coosaw Point River Club.

John Paul II Catholic School will hold the prom from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Port Royal Sound Maritime Center.

Battery Creek High School’s prom will kick off 7 p.m.

May River High School will host its first ever prom starting at 8 p.m. It will be held on school grounds.

Ashley Jean Reese: 843-706-8155, @Reese_Ashley

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