Pa. Law Requires More Prom Chaperones
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ Make room for mom and dad at the high school prom.
A new state law requires a tenfold increase in the number of school chaperones at dances booked at hotels, banquet halls or other places where liquor is sold. It requires one adult at least 25 years old for every five students.
The provision is part of a new state liquor law that went into effect Feb. 7. State law previously required one chaperone for every 50 students.
Pennsylvania State Police Capt. Leonard McDonald, operations director of the agency’s bureau of liquor control enforcement, said police had not pushed for the chaperone law.
``We have not found proms to be a particular concern to us in the past,″ McDonald said.
But a spokesman for the bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Vincent Fumo, said he’d received complaints from dance clubs and other places that admit patrons under 21.
``He received complaints that underage people who were in the clubs, ostensibly just to dance, were in fact having access to alcohol, either buying it illegally or smuggling it in and spiking their drinks, because there was inadequate supervision,″ spokesman Gary Tuma said.
Liquor licensees would be held responsible for any violations of the chaperone rule, McDonald said. Fines could range from $1,000 to $5,000, or result in a liquor license suspension.
``It just seemed excessive and over-the-top,″ complained Justin Neidig, senior class president at Muncy High School, about 70 miles north of Harrisburg.
But youngsters will rock on.
``It might put a little bit of a damper on things, but the students will still have fun,″ he said.
As for Muncy High parents: Be prepared to sign up for your stint at the May 2 prom.
``We’re asking people to sign up for an hour time block so that not everyone gets saddled with having to stay the whole night,″ said Staci Cordell, the prom organizer.
On the Net:
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board: http://www.lcb.state.pa.us
Pennsylvania Restaurant Association: http://www.parestaurant.org