It’s prom and graduation season in Delaware and many families are celebrating together the milestones they and their teenagers have achieved. We, meanwhile, are working hard to make sure there will be jobs available for our young people when they are ready for their careers. Whether they are going to college, into the military service, onto employment training or travel, our young people will be moving in many new directions.
It’s a time of mixed emotions as we celebrate something they have worked for, for so long. Because we want to see every single one of them graduate and seize the opportunities in front of them, we are doing our part in the state to raise awareness about the safety issues that often accompany this time of year. Our Delaware Division of Alcohol and Tobacco enforcement has launched a prom and graduation campaign, called Buyers Beware, to help prevent underage drinking. While some teens attempt to get alcohol by making a purchase from a retail store, others get alcohol from family, friends and even strangers who agree to buy it for them. This is not only dangerous; it’s illegal. In Delaware, it could mean a $500 fine and up to 30-days in jail.
Every year, hundreds of teens lose the chance to toss their caps at graduation, hug their best friends, or thank their parents. Car crashes remain the leading killer of teenagers –more than drugs, alcohol, or violence, combined. Unfortunately, most of us can remember some of the terrible tragedies that have resulted over the years because of poor judgment about drinking among friends who were simply on the road out to have a good time. As the father of two teenagers myself, I understand the distractions, the peer pressure and the temptations that abound.
Let’s work together to make sure our high school graduations and proms and the celebrations related to them are not marred by tragedy – that our sons and daughter get to live the next chapter of their lives and fulfill some of their dreams. Let’s thank the proud Moms and Dads who drove the carpools, helped with homework, or made the lunches that helped get their children to graduation day. By doing so, you not only shaped your family’s future, you helped shaped our community’s future as collectively, we all work to keep Delaware – and our young people – moving forward.