Marshfield’s Ultimatum: Parents Attend Meeting Or Kids Miss Prom

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV

MARSHFIELD (CBS) -Marshfield teenagers who dream of a magical prom night, had to drag parents to a mandatory meeting Wednesday. 

“We have a captive audience with the prom,” says High School principal Robert Keuther. “We know that almost 100 percent of our students attend the prom, so we wanted to make sure we’re communicating not just with our kids, but with our parents.”

 WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports

So for the first time, the school made teenagers and their parents sit through a primer on drinking laws, if the kids plan to attend junior prom. If they don’t show up, they won’t be allowed to the dance.

Local authorities talked about the social host law that makes it illegal for parents to allow underage drinking in their homes, even if they don’t provide the alcohol.

“It’s an inconvenience,” says Dottie Fierimonte, who came to the meeting with her daughter. “If the students don’t realize by the time they’re 17 not to drink and drive, if parents don’t realize…I think it’s a little ridiculous.”

The District Attorney also explained how drunk driving laws are tougher than ever, in part, because of “Melanie’s Law” inspired by the death of Marshfield teenager Melanie Powell, killed by a drunk driver.

“We’ve had enough bad incidents happen, and we want to send the message out that it’s not OK to break the law,” says Marshfield Police Capt. Phil Tavares.

The reaction from parents after the meeting was mixed. “It is a great inconvenience, but compared to losing a life, it’s not inconvenient at all,” says mom Liz Grauel.

Marshfield High’s principal says other South Shore towns are planning to do the same this spring.

More from Christina Hager
  • Bahstan11

    Yea don’t let em drink in highschool so when they get to college they go even crazier and party too hard killing themselves or driving drunk

    • Debbie

      Yea, by that logic, we should let kids steal candy bars or they will rob banks when they grow up, and let them beat each other up or they will grow up and go on a killing spree.

      Makes a lot of sense…

      • Jack James

        Actually Debbie your YOUR comment doesnt make any sense and is a ridiculous jump in logic. It is a known FACT that in European countries where drinking wine at a young age (in the home) is the norm (as is a younger legal drinking age) there are much lower instances of both drunk driving and of alcoholism. It is a lesser known (albeit true fact) that alcoholism rates in Americans ages 18-25 are higher since the nationwide switch to a 21yr old drinking age. Lets try to work with facts not assumptions here ok?

      • JSAM

        @Jack James you might want to get off of your high horse and stop speaking out of your @ss, because what you just said is totally wrong. Europe is one of the leading regions of drunk driving and alcoholism. Luxemberge alone is the leading country in alcoholism as well as Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Poland and France. These most of these countries allow under age drinking and they all top the United States on alcohol related deaths. So the next time you try to belittle some one get your facts strait.

      • Christmas

        I’m with you Debbie.

  • emom

    This is a great idea, at some point parents must be made aware of the dangers and potential of kids drinking, We see so many accidents due from drinking underage and we all get mad about it, If this was my kid I would go and be there and listen, its important that these kids today realize the dangers. I also feel colleges should be monitoring the students more especially the under 21 groups. At some point kids need t understand its not worth the tradegy of drinking and parents need to see it as well. Glad schools have taken notice.

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  • Jeff Kingston

    When is government going to get out of people’s personal space. There are some issues that don’t require the policies of the SS to accomplish. A signed agreement from families and their student should suffice. There is absolutely no need to lecture the entire population of a high school class AND their parents on the dangers of drinking and driving like they are second graders being taught how to cross the street.

  • Emmit066

    When our society stops treating alcohol as taboo and a demon that should be avoided at all costs, maybe kids won’t be as drawn to it as they are now. I never had a drink until I got to college simply because I didn’t see the point in trying to have one when I was in high school.

    • Barbara Sapp

      Maybe when we quit glorifying getting drunk in commercials and movies and how great it is to underage drink, maybe then, kids won’t be so drawn to it. If parents are responsible, I have given my teenage son drinks of alcohol and we cook with it but my kids have never seen me falling down drunk. But they know alcoholism and addiction run in both families so we tell them to choose wisely. Hopefully they will and if not they will suffer the consequences.

    • me

      this is true. i think that it is partially due to the desire to seem older. kids in highschool know that in college, students go out and party and it seems like an incredible life, and they are in such a hurry to grow up.
      it’s the thrill of not getting caught and seeming older because society tries to say that it’s wrong.
      if it were simply treated as a drink and not as this wild thing that drastically improves your personality, i think the whole issue would begin to resolve.
      also for them to realize that if they are just wasted the whole night, they likely wont even HAVE any memories of their PROM.

  • Mike

    Wow, what a novel idea…Parents involved in their kids lives….It will never fly….

  • response

    I can not understand why parents are making a big deal about going to a meeting?
    If your child plays sports, parents take the time out of their day and go to the game to see their child play. Take the time out of your busy schedule and attend the meeting. If you already talk to kids about drinking and driving, it’ll be a refresher class. It’s not an inconvenience, it’s called parenting.

    • Willow

      Some companies fire people for taking time off. I realize a lot of people have never had jobs where they weren’t allowed to take PTO time, but it does actually happen.

  • Denise

    The parents always say after something has happend… why didn’t someone do or say something! Well for once a school is trying to do the right thing! Good for them.

    if this world actually made people responsible for their actions – we wouldn’t have multi-millionaires from spilling hot coffee on their laps! Stupidity shouldn’t be rewarded.

  • DStein

    Massachusetts is inconsistent in its messages to teenagers. They’ll lecture them on alcohol use and then pass a law that says possession of certain amounts of marijuana is okay. Is this state messed up or what?

    • Dan Johnson

      Alcohol is infinitely more damaging. If the threat level were considered when outlawing substances, alcohol would be illegal, and mj wouldn’t. In fact, study after study puts mj below caffeine….Know your facts!

  • MS

    This kind of meeting is not something new. I’ve attended this meeting in Scituate for all 3 of my kids over tha past 5 years and have no problem with it. At least the school’s being proactive!

    Be a parent and take responsibility for at least TRYING to set a good example!

  • emom

    If oin front nly the kids in attleboro felt the same way as well as their parents,,, Its so sad when parents dont even KNOW what their kids are doing,, Like how hard is it to have them call you once they get to where they are going, asking them questions about where they are going, randomly calling them for no reason, I hear parents say they cant monitor their kids 24/7 I get that, but at least knowing what they are doing is not difficult, The old saying “they are good kids” if so why are they at the police station, in court facing a judge, or facing the hate and anger of the other person… And then parents will cry why didnt anyone say something,,,,, I guess no matter what people do some will think differently…

    • MS

      emom-I agree. Not saying I’m the best father on theplanet all time but it’s my responsbility to at least try!

  • emom

    MS,, So why in the heck cant parents see it that way,, As long as we are in ou kids lifes and let them know that, they will understand..

    • MS

      emom…guess we should be role models for other parents then!:?!

      • emom

        Really, I only wish others would see what is right in front of them… I have had so many say I probably did this and I did that , thruth is I Never drank before the age limit My father was the one who gave me my first beer on my birthday I was 18, ^ months later the age limit changed I had to wait twice and I did…to this day I hardlly drink, I NEVER DRIVE IF DRINKING, Never went to a bar, and never had drinks while out at dinner, I was the driver most times and besides didnt trust the others, And the one time I did go out and drink was a xmas party at work BUT me and hubby stayed over night at the hotel ,,, now thats responsibility…. My kid knows I drink OCCASIONALLY< and also knows, its wrong to drink under age, We talked about a few stories recently and I was so surprised at what my kid said.. Why are they so stupid,,, this from my kid , Yes must be doing something right… agree 110% ,,, parenting is not "EASY" but work… If they reach 10% of the parents and the kids, its a huge start… I only wish most would see its for their lives,,,,

  • GJH

    Danvers did the same thing and I went to the meeting the only problem is not all parents did and thier kids got to go anyway. If it’s mandatory then make the parents check in and match them to the child.

  • Gary Neddo

    a great way to reach out to the kids as there is alot of them that dont care and the same with their parents most are always trying to be their childs friend or trying to keep up with the next family, it may save a few more lives and families

  • emom

    agree being their kids BEST FRIEND and seeing nothing wrong with them “EXPRESSING THEMSELVES” but so many kids today are aragant , rude, slef centered , belive they are always right, and dont give a darn Parents NEED to wake up and realize the way they have raised their kids just is not working out well… so many get into trouble and walk around thinking they can do what they want with no punishments,,,,,, So glad to see someone took notice……

  • Bill Buckner

    Cancel the prom. That is the only way to be sure.

  • Donna Sayles-Corbin

    If by the age of 17 you do not realize the great dangers in driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs…you need a dose of common sense and you get what you deserve. Sounds like this little area has had a history with drunk drivers killing people. If that isn’t enough to make these kids think twice then nothing will. They will do what they want and will get what they deserve. Hopefully no one else will have to get hurt or die because they wanted to stupid.

  • Wowsers

    Man, if my school had done this I wouldn’t have been able to go to prom. My mom never went to parent teacher conferences, open houses…and she only went to a few of my sports games and I think she missed most of the plays I was in. She had to work and couldn’t take time off. And she had a great job too….but her company just didn’t think that this stuff was important enough for her to get time off for it.

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  • Barbara Sapp

    Lots of great comments. It is amazing to think that parents today should be more then friends with their kids….and make them polite, responsible adults?! Really!? What a novel idea. If she couldn’t take time off of work, some principals, the good ones meet after the parent gets off work. Shame on the school officials who let those kids go anyway, unless their parents made other arrangements.

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