Drinking prompts change in C-R prom plans


By Jim Poole

Problems at this year’s Cobleskill-Richmondville prom have already affected the 2009 prom.
“A very small percentage of students” violated C-R’s code of conduct at the May 17 junior-senior prom, Superintendent Lynn Macan said Monday, and students working on next year’s event must now change plans.
At the same time, Ms. Macan said she wants to examine a community-wide approach to combat underage drinking.
Held at The River Stone in Glenville, the prom this year “was a nice event for our students,” Ms. Macan said, adding that the site, decorations and DJ were all great.
Great, that is, until chaperones discovered “fewer than 10” students had apparently had alcohol, Ms. Macan said. They were removed, and officials called parents to come pick them up.
There were no arrests, according to Glenville Police.
“This is a reflection on our community,” Ms. Macan said. “We went to someone else’s community and behaved poorly.”
While the students were disciplined, Ms. Macan said the incident was “an opportunity to learn.
“We’re not interested in punishment. A couple of days later, we want the kids to step back, look and think about what they did.”
For years, C-R officials have allowed the prom to be at a Capital District site. That permission, however, comes with the warning that “what you do will impact the class behind you,” Ms. Macan said.
In other words, the 2009 prom will be in Schoharie County, not the Albany area.
Just days after the prom, students from the class of 2010 visited the school board to ask permission to have the ’09 prom on the Captain J.P., a four-deck ship that sails from Troy to Albany on the Hudson River.
Board members didn’t support the idea, and President Dan Schulte alluded to problems at this year’s prom.
Without approving the prom-on-water, board members told students they needed more information on supervision, travel to Troy and students’ access to open decks, among other concerns.
Since the May 27 board meeting, Ms. Macan said, officials decided to keep the ’09 prom in Schoharie County.
C-R’s prom routinely draws 250, so it needs a large venue. Officials are looking into using a building at SUNY Cobleskill, Ms. Macan said.
The incident at this year’s prom has Ms. Macan studying underage drinking in general. It’s not just a problem in Cobleskill and Richmondville, she said, but everywhere.
“The levels of involvement have changed,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s accessibility or culturally, it’s more accepted than it was 20 years ago.”
Ms. Macan is considering Communities That Care, a systematic method involving schools, parents and community “to strengthen youth and families,” she said.
“A lot of communities have seen a reduction in risky behaviors,” she said.
Only a widespread approach involving the entire community is likely to be successful in fighting teen drinking, Ms. Macan added.
“Schools can’t do it alone. No one can do it alone. You need a comprehensive philosophy.”