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May 20, 2013

Peabody school board considers setting up a bus for prom

PEABODY — Nobody spells cool “b-u-s.”

But members of this city’s school board are hoping to find a way to make the bus cool enough that kids will take it to the prom.

Member Ed Charest proposed the idea at the most recent meeting. “I know a lot of the kids will not be for it,” he conceded. But citing the need for safety, he urged, “We could get a decent deal for the kids. It’s something we need to look at.”

Such programs already exist in other school systems, he pointed out.

The committee agreed to study the idea. Speaking afterward, member Dave McGeney declared, “It’s a good idea.” He seemed to invoke the fears that so many have of deadly prom night accidents and mishaps, viewing this as a way to prevent use of alcohol or drugs.

“We’ve got some really great kids,” he said, noting the laudatory messages that come back whenever Peabody High students make visits to other places. “But even really great kids can have a moment of poor judgment. And anything that makes the kids safer on prom night is a good thing.”

On the other hand, McGeney said, “If you’re talking about getting a big yellow school bus, I assume they’ll hate it.” Worse yet, they’re likely to avoid it. Instead, he proposes, “Make it a coach bus.”

In that case, he said, prom-goers should be subject to some supervision.

Colleague Brandi Carpenter was more skeptical about coaxing young people onto the bus. “I don’t know if the kids would use it,” she said. “... I’d be all for it if people are going to take the bus.”

She’s hoping to have more information before any decision is made. “It warrants investigation,” she said.

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