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Schools, hotels aim to increase safety of graduation events

The Fargo and West Fargo school districts are working with 12 Fargo-Moorhead hotels and motels to monitor parties and make graduation weekend celebrations safer.

The Fargo and West Fargo school districts are working with 12 Fargo-Moorhead hotels and motels to monitor parties and make graduation weekend celebrations safer.

The program, modeled after a Sioux Falls, S.D., initiative, asks area inns to not rent rooms to minors, require parental chaperones and enforce laws against minor drug and alcohol abuse.

Lowell Wolff, a Fargo administrator who is coordinating the program with Cole Carley, executive director of the Fargo Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the program aims to stem substance abuse.

"It's not just a school problem, it's a community problem," Wolff said. "It's just one more way of asking the community to address this problem."

West Fargo Assistant Superintendent Louise Dardis said some parents rent rooms for their childrens' parties. It makes hosting a party easier, but can lead to problems, she said.

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"The kids are underage and there are underage things that happen," she said.

Hotels and motels taking part in the program agree to:

- Rent rooms only to adults.

- Require at least one parent to be present at all parties.

- Ask parties to leave the premises and forfeit room rent if a parent is not present at all times.

- Assess and collect property damages.

- Notify police of underage drinking.

Area hotels and motels taking the pledge include: Expressway Inn, Ramada Plaza Suites, Holiday Inn, Scandia Hotel, Holiday Inn Express, Sleep Inn, Kelly Inn (13th Avenue), Super 8, MainStay Suites, Travel Lodge, and Microtel.

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"We think this is definitely a time to celebrate," Wolff said. "This is one way of keeping it a bit safer for everybody."

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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