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Sober graduation parties have scaled back in recent years

My daughter graduates in June from North Medford High School. I was making plans for graduation weekend and called the school to find out when its sober grad party was going to be held. Office staff informed me they didn't know of any grad party this year. My daughter, her friends and I are all shocked. Why weren't parents informed? And why has the school decided to discontinue this tradition on a night that, historically, has been infamous for car accidents and drunk driving?

— Holly G., Medford

Holly, we're told that, in the past, parents have spearheaded the annual event, but that sometime in the last few years the baton was dropped.

North Medford High School Principal Ron Beick said there was no graduation party last year either.

"It's not a district thing or a school thing," he said. "It's always been done by parent groups."

However, school staff would post and pass out fliers, supplied by the parents, he said.

Parents of students at South Medford High School also won't be putting on a party for the class of 2014.

South Medford High School Principal Kevin Campbell said a graduation after-party used to be routine at his school but has become intermittent in recent years as the level of interest dropped off. He estimated that about 200 graduates would attend the event each year when it was held.

"There was no talk about it this year because it hasn't been the norm for the last two years," he said.

Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said he couldn't think of any tragedies or fatal accidents that have coincided with high school graduations. However, the department will adjust the schedules of its school resource officers and community service officers on graduation day — June 7 — so they are available to respond to situations with juveniles drinking or other related issues, he said.

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