Utah's spring-break crowd isn't as wild as the revelers in other parts of the country. As a Utah Highway Patrol officer was quoted as saying last year in St. George: "This is not a Fort Lauderdale. It's not Palm Springs."
Yes, perhaps. But he could add to that list that it's also not very worthwhile.The trouble with modern spring-break gatherings is they operate under a false premise, which is that young people with time off have a right to be uncivil, indulgent and churlish at the expense of others. They have no such free pass to idiocy. Neither do people of any age.
Yet, year after year, the people of St. George are forced to grit their teeth and brace themselves for the Easter weekend onslaught the way Northerners brace for winter or Midwesterners brace for a tornado. For them, spring break means a lot of hassle and little reward. The weekend is a bust for local merchants. Kids don't spend much. But it is drudgery for police, who work plenty of overtime, and it is a nightmare for the people who make a living cleaning up.
One hotel maid last year told reporters she refused to go into some of the rooms, which were piled high with trash, clothes, cans and orange peels. Police, meanwhile, issued about 90 citations in one night for alcohol, tobacco, curfew and disorderly conduct violations. That number was down over previous years, but it led one officer to chuckle, "Come on vacation, leave on probation."
Frankly, it's not funny. Utah's teens may not get into the types of serious trouble that teens in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere do, but they are in the same arena, playing the same dangerous and destructive game. At best, the outcome will not be uplifting.
This weekend promises to be another wild one in St. George. Parents need to understand what their children are doing on spring break. Then they need to impose restrictions.
Perhaps the time off would be better spent on a family vacation or finishing a project or performing an act of service. The path to well-adjusted, responsible adulthood does not include weekends where breaking the law, trashing hotel rooms and disturbing the peace top the list of activities.