Party buses create new area of concern

by Courtney Smith | staff writer

Everyone knows the cliche: boy picks up girl in a limousine and they cruise their way into prom. However, limousines might not be the only things pulling up to prom anymore. A newer, bigger, and louder animal has come onto the scene and it’s rightfully called the party bus.

“Party buses and limos add to the temptation to do something they [students] should not be doing,” principal John Mehlbrech said.

A party bus can hold anywhere from 16-32 students and while some are simply fitted with big benches and a nice stereo, others have mini bars and silver poles from the ceiling to the floor. Limos, on the other hand, can still allow students access to alcohol, but there are less people per car and not as much room to participate in inappropriate activity.

“I’ve been a teenager. I’m not ignorant. I do know that goes on. And with party buses when you have anywhere from 12-20, you know 30, on a party bus, somebody is going to bring something they shouldn’t bring and people will share it and people get in trouble,” Mehlbrech said.

What happens on the party bus doesn’t stay on the party bus, either. Snapchats, tweets, and Instagram pictures can all warrant a consequence if brought to the administration’s attention.

“When you’re on the party bus and you’re out driving around, it’s like being in your own car. I don’t have jurisdiction over a consequence per say because you’re out in private somewhere. Just because you rent a bus; it’s not a Johnson bus,” Mehlbrech said. “Do we go out and look for it? No. But if it’s brought to us, we don’t have a choice but to take action on it. However, if there’s stuff that goes around and it comes to our attention, i.e. an Instagram or photo, and you are involved in dance, cheer, baseball, track, whatever it be – you’re done. You’re off the team. Because you are representing Johnson and it doesn’t matter whether it’s at an event or not at an event, if you’re drinking alcohol or doing inappropriate things you can be kicked off the team.”

After incidents a few years ago, Mehlbrech visited the idea of banning party buses all together.

“I got a lot of push-back because of the traditions of what it is, and the fact that the parents feel their kids are safer driving in a multi-unit thing rather than their own individual car. Because there are a lot of other proms going on;a lot of other things taking place,” Mehlbrech said.

Although only about four buses rolled up to the J.W. this year, the party bus ban seems to be an idea of the past.

“I do not plan on eliminating that option, but I still throw out the warning of the dangers of doing that and as parents if you choose for your child to partake then, you know, what ramifications come of it; come of it,” Mehlbrech said. “I know as a teenager it’s a time to have fun and that’s what we want you to have, but within reason and scope of what you should be doing.”

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