We the students of Westside Safe Rides are outraged at the article, "Schools Tell Teens How to Toe the Party Line," and by the subject which it reported: Guidelines issued by schools for parents on how to give and attend a party.
Safe Rides is a volunteer service in which students pick up other students who have been drinking and take them home. The service is free and confidential. Safe Rides does not in any way condone drinking. Safe Rides lacks adult support: We have few adult volunteers, we lack funding, and in the article by John Mitchell we are often ignored. The guidelines for attending a party were faulty because they failed to adequately deal with the issue of drunk driving, which is the immediate threat posed by student drinking. The administrators who wrote the guidelines did not seek the advice of students, who could have helped make the guidelines realistic and thus useful. Our organization, one of the most knowledgeable on student drinking, was not consulted, and when we offered assistance we were refused. It was another example of the administration ignoring the problem of drunk driving among students.
John Mitchell's only criticism of the guidelines is a ridiculous quote from "Amy," a student at Crossroads. Her remarks create a stereotypical image of a whining, rebellious teen-ager, whose reasoning does not go beyond "it's just not fair." Mitchell does mention Safe Rides in passing, but in fact gives an incorrect description of our services (i.e. we do ask questions before picking students up). Again, Safe Rides was ignored.
We, as students, have seen the lives of our friends claimed by accidents involving drunk driving year after year. We are united in an effort to combat the problem. It may be difficult for parents to accept the fact that teen-agers, and perhaps their teen-agers, drink and will possibly drive drunk. But it is when these facts are ignored, however, that the lives are lost.
We hope that you will recognize the necessity of facing this problem realistically. Safe Rides is just one option, and we wish that no one needed to use it. But students do need it, students do use it, and it does save lives.
JENNIFER GIAMBATTISTA, Chairperson
Westside Safe Rides
1987-88 Steering Committee