School District Nixes Prom Limos

Jim Luff
Posted on April 22, 2009
LIVERY TRAVESTY: Recently the Narragansett School District in Rhode Island mandated that its students must ride charter buses to their proms.
 
All students are required to use a charter bus. Local limo companies already had accepted reservations and deposits to provide service on prom night. The principal of the high school issued a press release to the local media saying that he would call upon local limousine companies to request they return non-refundable deposits to parents. If ever there was a time to JUST SAY NO, this is it! As small companies, these operators rely on prom season to provide a financial boost.
 
To be forced to cancel the reservations placed by these high school students is financially devastating. The superintendent, Katherine Sipala, also commented in a press release that they “did not want alcohol” to become a part of prom night. She went so far as to say that “limo drivers” could be bribed to turn the other way.” To add insult to injury she said she wanted students to be “accounted for” and “safe.”
 
This implies that a limousine is not a “safe” mode of transportation. In my opinion she cast a shadow over the fine men and women who serve as professional chauffeurs in this industry.
 
Meanwhile, in Kansas City, a teacher was arrested recently for molesting a student. It seems to me we hear many media reports about teachers engaging in sex acts with students, but yet our industry does not run around labeling all teachers as perverts. Yet school systems seem eager to label our industry as contributors to delinquency.
 
We should be outraged that these elected school board officials have chosen to financially slam our industry. They also have taken away the right of parents to decide what transportation their kids will use for the prom. Many little girls dream of riding to the prom in a limousine much as they dream of riding in one on their wedding day.
 
This opportunity has now been taken away by a meddlesome little government. Any elected official has been elected to “serve” the people. We must not allow government interference to take away our right to earn a living.
 
Once something like this occurs in one locality it makes it much easier for other cities and towns to follow suit. It could cripple one of this industry’s major revenue sources. So when government gets in your face, you must take a stand as a local business against such tactics. Deposits should not be returned in order to prove a point to the local government. However, this tactic only works if all companies agree to a uniform policy on this matter and stand together.
 
I urge you to write the principal and superintendent and principal and voice your opinion on their actions. Principal Dan Warner can be reached at [email protected] and Superintendent Katherine Sipala can be reached at [email protected].

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