Graduation is the end of one thing, and hopefully the beginning of something new.

Young people transition out of public school and start on their next step, whether it’s a job, college education, or more likely both.  

As high school graduates move on to a new phase in life, it’s an exciting time.

It’s natural for graduates to want to celebrate. Unfortunately, the desire to celebrate sometimes leads to trouble.

An increase in underage drinking, vandalism, curfew violations and reckless driving all typically accompany the beginning of each summer.

Schools all across the country have memorials to students who lost their lives in accidents during the final weeks of the school year. The stories of teens killed or injured in automobile accidents vary from negligence to just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but all are tragic.

It’s important to remember safe driving practices while having fun.

Parents should remind teens about driving safely, and enforce consequences of careless driving. Just because someone has turned 18 doesn’t mean they don’t have to follow the house rules, much less the rules of the road.

Texting while driving can also be deadly. Of course, one should never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s also important to remember that seat belts save lives.

In addition to safety, students sometimes express their delight of being out of school through mischief. Some feel like it’s a good time to take a parting shot at a rival school, while others seek to leave their mark with pranks or jokes. However, when the building or grounds of a school are vandalized, repairs to the facility must be made and come at great expense to taxpayers.

Any type of vandalism can result in citations or arrests — not exactly the most auspicious way to start one’s post high school career. In today’s world of surveillance cameras, it’s a lot easier to catch those who damage property.

The resulting legal problems can hamper a young person’s ability to pursue their desires in life and leave a blotch on their permanent record.

While it’s an exciting time, it’s important to use some common sense to make sure that graduation week remains the beginning of one’s life, not the end.

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