CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- While the prom is a significant John Jay High School event, officials are making sure that they're aware of the consequences that can arise from inappropriate conduct.
Students and parents gathered Thursday at the school's auditorium for a pre-prom discussion, which involved five guest speakers and where four of their peers acted out skits involving alcohol, impairment and false identification, among others.
In the first skit, which takes place before the main event, an intoxicated female risks being neglected as another student suggests leaving her and going to the prom.
“I think that's every parent's worst nightmare,” said Tom Riccio, who is with the Westchester Taxi and Limousine Commission, about the skit. Riccio was one of six guest speakers for the talk.
Dr. David Zuckerberg, who is an associate director at Northern Westchester Hospital's emergency department, described the negative effects of too much alcohol, which can include coma, asphyxiation, not breathing or throwing up.
Also discussed was the dilemma of younger people in seeking help, with the possibility of getting in trouble for drug or alcohol possession connected to it.
Addressing this topic, Anthony Molea, who works for the Westchester County District Attorney, noted that New York has a good samaritan law. This means that if police are called for help for another person or the individual reporting, there won't be a risk of a possession charge. Molea felt that getting help should be the “primary focus.”
Zuckerberg recalled a situation from several years ago where a young woman was left at the hospital by her friends and they disappeared. The woman, who had alcohol poisoning, stayed in the hospital for days.
Molea also discussed possible liability for parents whose alcohol is involved, which can include criminal and civil. He got into details about the latter, which would involve being sued.
Sexual consent and rape was also discussed. Molea, noting that New York's age of consent is 17, discussed statuory rape, where a person under the age cannot legally give consent. He also brought up how a person, even if they are at or above the age of consent, cannot give consent when there is impairment. Zuckerberg discussed what the medical response is, including the collection of evidence.
The talk also included discussion of other substances, such as heroin, marijuana and medication. Responding to a question about the danger of taking an unknown type of pill, Zuckerberg addressed the lack of predictability. Addressing marijuana, Zuckerberg brought up its impact on judgment.
Students going to the prom, and parents, are required to either attend the event or to watch a taping of it, according to John Goetz, the school's interim principal. He believes that a majority of them attended.
During the talk, Goetz explained the school procedure for the prom, which involves students being taken to the site by buses with chaperones on them.
The gathering, which included questions from folks in the audience, became part of the prom experience in another way when an attendee asked another to be his date. His gesture was met with a significant applause from the audience.