Judges tell teens: Bad decisions can make prom a time of regret (Sun-Times Media)

by Emily McFarlan Miller

ELGIN — Judges Susan Boles and Clint Hull showed a photo of Caitlin Weese, then a photo of her car, a dark-colored four-door with the front driver’s side smashed in.

They showed a photo of Brett Petschow, then a photo of the sporty little red car in which he had been a passenger, upside-down, its hood crumpled by a pole.

Hull, an associate judge in Kane County’s felony court division, said those aren’t the pictures of prom night, of the last few weeks of their senior year of high school, that he wants Larkin High School students to look back on.

“We know this is an exciting time for you guys. We’re excited for you. We want you to have a good time,” he said.

“When you look at these pictures, what we want you to say is, ‘This is a night I’ll never forget,’ in a good way. ‘This is a night I’ll never forget,’ not ‘I’ll never forget that night.’”

Hull and Boles presented a program called “7 Reasons to Leave the Party””on Wednesday morning at Larkin.

The program, presented at schools statewide by the Illinois Judges Association, informs students about the legal and personal consequences of drinking and driving, taking drugs and having sex, according to ija.org.

Boles, the presiding judge in Kane County’s juvenile court division, said the association started the program about five years ago out of the“frustration judges feel “any time a young person hits the courthouse steps in any of the 102 counties in Illinois.”

It’s one of many programs Larkin has offered in the weeks leading up to prom and graduation, according to Sjouke Brown, sophomore English teacher and junior class sponsor.

Larkin’s prom this year is Friday, May 11, and graduation is Saturday, May 26.

Students have many activities coming up and many choices to make, the teacher said. In addition to prom and graduation, that includes after-prom, the senior picnic, the senior boat trip and graduation parties, she said.

And, Brown said, she wants students “just to realize it’s OK if I don’t participate in everything. It’s OK if I offend somebody.””

For the rest of the story, read Bad decisions can make prom a time of regret (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Michael Smart for Sun-Times Media.