This weekend Ukrainian schools held prom nights. School graduates got their certificates of secondary education and celebrated their entry into adulthood.

Unfortunately, statistic data of the Interior Ministry shows that children try to celebrate the event as adults, with alcoholic drinks, which often causes tragedies. Thus, this year on May 24 a student of 71st Dnipropetrovsk school jumped from the bridge on Monastyrski island but never made it out of the water. Besides, three more children died on the prom day in Dnipropetrovsk region.

Due to such tragic accidents law enforcements have strengthened policing of proms and assigned officers and medical personnel to every school of Ukraine. 

ForUm has asked experts about how efficient such practice is and whether it helps to avoid tragic incidents.

Ivan Babayev, deputy spokesman of Interior Ministry of Ukraine:

- One or two police officers are assigned to every school of Ukraine to maintain order during proms. Offices also accompany graduates till sunrise if the latter go out in an orderly way.
Such practice has been followed for over 15 years - on Easter police officers patrol churches and on prom night  - schools. Officers are assigned to prevent incidents and solve conflicts. However, prom nights go smoothly and quietly lately, and presence of police officers keep children away from troubles. Every region has its complex of measures for this period.

Yaroslav Sukhyi, MP (Party of Regions), member of the parliamentary committee on social policy and labour:

- Such measure is a forced necessity, as the number of incidents happening during such events have increased. My prom was long time ago, and we did not have any police around, only teachers. Moreover, there was no such night's debouche, as there is now. How efficient is this measures? Well, it is as efficient as any other measure taken by our law enforcement bodies - fifty-fifty.

Oksana Bryk, psychologist, professor of the psychology, teaching and conflict management department of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy:

- Time goes by and everything changes - children, parents, society, rules of behavior. What teens considered unacceptable earlier is now a norm, for example filming fights among peers and put it on internet. Incidents happened before as well. Some of them were slurred over, others were making headlines. District educational departments used to discuss such cases and work out strategies to prevent them in the future. However, we cannot compare then and now. Now we have a different society with different problems, thus different measures are required.

Presence of police officers is an unpleasant reality, but adequate to the times. And children are not the only one to blame. For example, nobody can guarantee that a stranger does not come for a party, or that graduates do not get robbed or attacked during a walk. These are the realities of our times, and to be honest, graduates should be protected not only from themselves, but also from strangers.

Serhiy Parkhomenko, representative of the Interior Ministry press office:

- In Dnipropetrovsk, the decision to assign 600 police officers was made by the head of the regional department. However, there is no some special plan on alignment of forces during prom nights. There is just a general plan on maintaining public order. Dnipropetrovsk police department assigned 600 officers, other cities assigned different numbers. It depends on the number of schools and graduates. Anyway, policing has been strengthened, and police officers will be assigned to every school.

Volodymyr Polishchuk, former head of the press office of the Main department of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine:  

- Strengthened public order maintenance during prom nights has been practiced by police forces for a long time. Officers do not just guard schools or entertainment establishments, but also hold routine talks with parents and graduates and organize common events with school administrations. Policing is strengthened until sunrise, until the last graduate goes home.
I don't recall any scandals of late years. In most cases, officers just call parents or school administration in case a graduate is drunk and bring him home. Officers understand that prom happens once in a lifetime, and they never make official reports, even in case of petty crimes.    

Serhiy Sobolev, MP (BYuT):

- I believe we must develop a behavioural philosophy of prom nights. If such parties turn into festival of vodka, of course, it will end bad. Every educational institution must develop a tradition to make pupils feel like a big family. Policing near schools is a good thing, but still there must be certain self-adjusting mechanism within the school itself.
Unfortunately, our educational system is distorted. There are no communities, which unite pupils and graduates. Policing is an attempt to prevent consequences, not to eliminate the cause. The key element is climate and atmosphere created in a school during the years of study.


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