New procedures for students to attend Prom

on September 10, 2019


Monroe-Woodbury High School letterhead

Monday, September 09, 2019

Dear MWHS Families,

I am writing to share information about a new practice at Monroe-Woodbury High School that we believe will be beneficial to students and their families. In order for students to attend the Junior or Senior Prom, they will be required to participate in an evening information session related to underage drinking and binge drinking. A parent or guardian will also need to attend along with the students.

As a school community, we care deeply about our young people and continuously engage in programs and initiatives that contribute to our students’ success, especially in the areas of health, social emotional wellness and safety. We know that it takes a partnership between the school district and our community to provide support, education and enriching opportunities that guide our children as they navigate life.

You may recall that M-W CARES was created in 2018 in direct response to M-W students asking for additional social and emotional support. Through M-W CARES assemblies, surveys and student/parent discussions, as well as Anonymous Alerts tips, the student voice has identified underage and binge drinking as a serious issue in our community. I have conducted further discussions with students, parents and staff this summer to learn more and to develop a plan of action to address the concern.

In collaboration with community leaders including Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler, Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois, and MaryAlice Kovatch from the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council of Orange County, we have established a series of information sessions to share critical information about the negative impacts underage and binge drinking are having on our children.

Social hosting goes hand in hand with underage drinking. While it may be an unfamiliar term, it is a topic that has come to the forefront in recent years in our county. Social hosting relates to underage individuals being provided alcohol.  County Executive Neuhaus created the Social Host Law in 2016, in addition to a Social Host Underage Drinking campaign.

Our hope is that these presentations will initiate important conversations and help deter potentially unsafe behavior. We are committed to initiatives that focus on Compassion, Acceptance, Respect, Empowerment and Success for our students, families and the community as a whole.

Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year:

Any current MWHS student who wishes to attend the Junior or Senior Prom and a Parent/Guardian must attend at least one presentation outlined below. This will fulfill all requirements as long as the student attends MWHS.

Example: The Prom Family has students in 9th and 11th grade and both students and parent/guardian participate in a presentation during the 2019/20 school year – both students have fulfilled their requirement for all Junior and Senior Proms they may attend while a student at MWHS.

Additionally, we will be adding a component to the prom guest approval procedure to help raise awareness of underage drinking and social hosting for non-MW guests and their parents to be completed before the event as well.  Notification of opportunities to meet this component will be provided by February 1, 2020.

SCHEDULE OF PRESENTATIONS – students and parent/guardian(s) are required to attend at least one session to fulfill prom requirement

September 23, 2019 – 6pm at Monroe Town Hall – ADAC will host a Parents Who Host Lose the Most discussion at the first meeting of the Crusader Community Coalition. This presentation includes strategies to reduce the prevalence of underage drinking and explanation of the Orange County Social Host Law.

October 3, 2019 – 5:30pm – 6:30pm at MWHS (immediately preceding HS Open House) – ADAC will host a Parents Who Host Lose the Most discussion. This presentation includes strategies to reduce the prevalence of underage drinking and explanation of the Orange County Social Host Law.

November 6, 2019 – 7pm – 8pm at MWHS – M-W CARES DAY Presenter Kathi Sullivan speaks to parents as a mother who lost her daughter to underage drinking and poor choices. The presentation will include: alcohol awareness, underage and binge drinking, choices and consequences, and social host liability.

January 28, 2020 – 7pm – 8pm at MWHS – M-W CARES Presenter A’ric Jackson will provide insight as to how we can live in the best way possible while staying true to yourself and your community.

March 10, 2020 – 7pm – 8pm at MWHS – ADAC will host a If They Had Known presentation. This documentary program focuses on today’s party culture and the risks of recreationally mixing prescription drugs with alcohol. It is an honest and emotional account of what happened that night spoken by the friends who were with him.  The story is truthful and alarming and has proven to connect with students in a modern way. Panel discussion will follow the 35 minute documentary.

April 28, 2020 – 7pm – 8pm at MWHS – M-W CARES DAY Presenter Rick Adam – Rick uses original music, drama, mime, special effects and vaudeville in his compelling autobiographical theatre production (complete with scenery, costumes and props) to explore alcoholism, drug dependency, eating disorders, teen suicide and self-destructive attitudes.

We look forward to seeing you with your children at one of the presentations. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or require special assistance, such as a sign language interpreter or a translator.


John S. Kaste