By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — As the 2018-19 school year comes to a close there are three realities of the season: proms, after proms and graduation parties.

“From May 15 to June 15, there will be lots of prom and graduation parties,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart during his weekly interview.

In 2018, during that time period, there were 31 crashes in Shelby County, said Lenhart.

“There were 10 injuries in the crashes,” he said. “Nine of the 31 crashes involved drivers between the ages of 16 and 20. That means one-third of the crashes involved a driver less than 21 years of age.

Of the 31 crashes, two drivers were cited for driving under the influence and six were cited for failure to control.

“That means they were going too fast,” said Lenhart.

Parents, he said, are usually nervous about their children going to proms and attending graduation parties.

“The parents need to talk to their children and communicate the issue issues of the events and the financial costs of the dresses. I can tell you, we used hand-me-down dresses and used dresses for my daughters’ proms. My girls were not scarred by this.

“For the working parent, they are laying out a lot of money for the event,” he continued.

For their children’s safety, he said, parents need to put limitations on them — what they are doing, who they are with and the number of graduation parties they are attending.

“The after proms and graduation parties cause the most problems,” said Lenhart. “Parents can go together to share the financial cost of the event. Plus, then they have more chaperons at the event.

“They can also invite parents of younger students to go along so those parents will know what to experience when their child is old enough for prom or graduation parties.”

During the events, parents can order pizza and make their own dishes for the party..

“In a rural are like ours, shredded pork is popular,” he said.

There are plenty of venues — churches, bowling alley, YMCA and community centers — to rent for graduation parties.

“I urge you not to let people crash your party,” said Lenhart. “They may have been drinking and acting up. Ask them to leave and if they don’t call our office or the local police department.”

Transportation plays heavily in prom and graduation celebrations.

“Fort Loramie and Jackson Center school use school buses to transport their students from prom to after prom,” said Lenhart.

“Parents can also rent limos,” he said. “I did that once for my kid and I was the limo driver. I wore the appropriate hat and tried not to watch what they were doing. My daughter shut the window behind me several times.”

Abide by the dress code for the after prom celebration, he said. After wearing a fancy dress, high heels for the girls and a formal suit for the boys, they are all ready to relax in shorts and a T-shirt.

“After a student arrives at after prom, don’t let them leave until it’s over,” said Lenhart. “If they do leave, call their parents so they know what’s going on.”

If there are door prizes, many of which are donated by local businesses, don’t give them away until the end of the night. Have “gimme” bags for each person at the event.

At graduation parties — where there are adult beverages — also have a sign saying the drinks are only for people 21 years of age and older.

“Have a supervisor at the beer location,” said Lenhart. “The home owner is responsible if a person leaves the party under the influence and gets into a crash.

“We want everyone to have fun during the prom and graduation season,” he said.

By Melanie Speicher

The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.

The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.