One of the most anticipated parts of the Johnstown High School prom has been taken away from students just days before the big night. Our Maria Valvanis tells us police and school officials are choosing safety over tradition.
JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. – “I have to do my job and if I didn't enforce these laws, I would be negligent,” said Johnstown Police Department Chief Mark Gifford.
Gifford is talking about having to enforce street laws Saturday night when students head off to prom. For more than a decade, it's been tradition for students to arrive in the most over-the-top ways they could come up with.
“It is kind of like a competition and that's what makes it fun, you know, who can have the coolest ride in,” senior Janaye Gray said.
And you name it, they've rode it. Whether it be boats, four wheelers or the bucket of a front loader, these students aren't worried about messing up there prom night glam.
“We were gonna go on this little blue Yamaha and I was gonna sit sideways and now I can't,” Gray said.
Nobody has gotten hurt in previous years, but school officials and police want to keep it that way.
“The concern we have is the safety. We’re not trying to put a damper on anyone's good time,” Johnstown High School Principal Michael Beatty said.
But this does still mean the end of tradition that most students have anticipated since entering the high school.
“Me and my buddies wanted to take our four wheelers, but with them not being street legal, we can’t and that was kind of a bummer, ‘cause it being our last year, we wanted to go out with a bang,” Troy Palmer said.
Police will be stationed at the intersection between North Perry and Main Street. It's about 200 yards from entrance and the Chief tells us any students showing up in unauthorized vehicles will be stopped and cited.
Gifford said, “You could be cited for reckless driving, operating a vehicle without a seatbelt out or passengers without proper restraints. You know, I know it’s a fun night for them and it should be, but again, we're going to do our job.”
“I understand where there coming from, but it still kinda stinks a little bit,” Gray said.