Spring break has a decades-old tradition in America as a time when college students take a breather from their studies, travel to distant, warm resort communities, party and find romance. Hollywood popularized spring break with movies such as “Where the Boys Are,” released in 1960 and set in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and “Palm Springs Weekend,” released in 1963.
However, times are no longer as innocent for the students. Even as long ago as 1969 a youth riot broke out in Palm Springs, a town that no longer welcomes spring breakers. Seventeen years later, rowdy youths yelling “spring break” ripped the clothes of frightened young women in public in Palm Springs.
In recent years spring break has taken a course darker than students being arrested for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Women risk being raped–and murdered. Drownings, fatal car accidents and other tragedies have occurred, ending young lives full of promise. While statistics on accidents, crime and fatalities during spring break might be hard to come by, the news media are replete with stories with at least one tragedy a year. In spring break of 2006, an 18-year-old man from Corpus Christi, Texas died after falling from a rooftop patio in a South Padre Island beach house. In 2013, two women from northeast Ohio on their way home from spring break in Panama City Beach, Fla., were killed and two others were seriously injured in a head-on collision in the Florida Panhandle. In this case, the two women who died were wearing seat belts.
It goes without saying that high school and college students face more risks if drugs and alcohol are involved in spring break activities. The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention report that motor vehicles crashes kill someone every 31 minutes, and nonfatal accidents injure someone every two minutes. Statistics like that are not a statistic you or your family want to experience first hand. As parents there are some actions you can take to assist with the safety of your teen or college student who is planning a spring break adventure. While our children need some independence, here are a few pointers:
- Find out who will be going with the group; is there an adult or are the kids on their own?
- Where will they be staying? Are they roughing it, taking chances, or booked at a hotel?
- Do you have proper backup documentation like copies of passports, medical cards, reservation confirmations, and address of the hotel or tour?
- What type of transportation will they be using? Is it reliable, or are they hitchhiking and staying in hostels along the way?
- Will your teen or college student have a cell phone with backup chargers? Do you have a routine method for checking in, particular if a visit to a foreign country is part of the plan?
Spring break has a long future as long as colleges are in existence. Taking proper measures to ensure the safety of all will ensure that many more spring breaks will be on the horizon. If your child has been injured or killed because of reckless activities by others during spring break, or you know someone who has been involved in this type of accident or injury, a New York attorney renowned for settling personal injury cases can help you deal with the issues at hand and the investigations to come.