After a quick first half, Massasoit Community College students will kick back this week and enjoy their spring break. If you are a student at a community college, the spring break experience is likely a little different than most.
Many Massasoit students will take the week to pick up a few extra shifts at work, spend time with their children, or fill out some transfer applications in the waning days of looming deadlines.
Chances are, you’re probably ok with that.
However, if that blizzard in the forecast this Tuesday has you feeling envious of those heading south for spring break, don’t. Nothing could be more absurd. You will be much better off sitting this one out.
Spring break continues to be a time marred by debauchery, drugs, sexual assault, and shattered dreams.
Ok, but say you’re the kind of meathead that doesn’t mind flying out to Cancun despite the travel warnings of cartel violence. Say you don’t mind guzzling Coronas in the faces of impoverished Mexicans. Maybe you can’t imagine how locals could be bothered by the infestation of privileged US students treating their pristine beaches like a Bonnaroo porta-potty.
What’s the worst that can happen? Right?
Well, you could end up like the student from Old Dominion University who contracted bacterial meningitis while away on spring break. Now the student and five others who came in contact are receiving treatment to prevent the infection from developing. Not exactly a time to remember.
Speaking of remembering, William Smith Meyers, a Florida University Student, didn’t even recall leaving for Spring break when he was arrested 8 hours away in Key West, FL. The newly elected student body president, who ran on a platform of “character that counts,” was found slamming bikes and scooters to the ground, according to police.
He will not be the only one arrested this spring break season.
Police in Orange Beach, Alabama have taken a “proactive stance,” against these kinds of antics issuing strong warnings to those looking to defile their beach community this spring break. Last year, in a span of just one week (March 12-18) Gulf Shores Police reported charging 288 individuals, mostly for underage drinking.
Over the six-week spring break season, Orange Beach Police report over 700 arrests. According to reports, 78% of those involved underage drinking, DUI’s, and drug arrests.
“We have a lot of eyes and ears out there,” Orange Beach Police Chief Joe Fierro told the AL.com. “It will be heavier this year than it ever has been.”
These offenses may sound like some good old-fashioned spring break shenanigans. Maybe it seems like a bunch of captain bringdowns spoiling a good time. It’s important to see where this kind of atmosphere can lead. The current trends are no laughing matter.
Perhaps the best indicator of how this concentration of unhinged partying and lax morality has spiraled out of control lies in what was once the self-proclaimed “Spring Break Capital of the World.”
Panama City, Florida has long been the epicenter of spring break rowdiness. That was until May of 2015, when the town chose to ban public alcohol consumption on the beaches during its peak season. Local businesses have expressed concern and reported severe damage to their revenue, but the decision came in the wake of a particularly atrocious season.
That year, Panama City, who is no stranger to the harmful side effects of increased spring break tourism, saw a dramatic spike in crimes and violence. Two major cases grabbed national headlines.
David Jamichael Daniels was sentenced last year for a 2015 incident when he opened fire at a packed house-party. Daniel received seven life sentences for attempted murder, as well as a charge for shooting into an occupied building.
Another heinous case that helped push residents over the edge involved what officials referred to as a “gang-rape.”
The incident took place in broad daylight while the party rolled on. A video captured the incident, showing on-lookers not terribly troubled by the assault on an incapacitated woman. Two men were convicted of sex-crimes and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“This act was encouraged by the crowd and unbelievably by the victim’s boyfriend,” said Judge James Fensom while sentencing the defendants, “but there is no excuse for your actions.”
“This incident was reprehensible and, on your part, a big mistake. … It is fortunate we no longer have the Spring Break atmosphere we had in the past.” Judge Fensom said.
“Everything about this makes my skin crawl,” the victim’s stepmother wrote in a statement. “There needs to be a statement about rape culture. This is not OK.”
Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen, told CNN shortly after the incident took place in 2015, that it was not an “isolated incident.” He was deeply concerned with the increase in spring break sexual assaults.
“This is not the first video we’ve recovered,” McKeithen said. It’s not the second video. It’s not the third video. There’s a number of videos we’ve recovered with things similar to this, and I can only imagine how many things we haven’t recovered.”
Also in Panama City, there doesn’t seem to be any spring break for the opioid epidemic.
Opioid overdoses, including heroin and fentanyl, have been surging in the Florida city. Emergency medical services have reported increased usage of Narcan nasal spray, which is effective only in opioid overdoses.
“We’re seeing it working, and that means opiates,” EMS Chief Corky Young said in the Panama City News Herald.
Hotels and clubs in popular spring break destinations are feeling the effects of cumbersome rules and regulations aimed at curbing these kinds of events. It’s hard to argue, given some of these horrible trends that they aren’t a necessary burden.
So, don’t feel bad this week, as you’re watching the snow pile up during a suspiciously wintry spring break. Put on some hot chocolate, go sledding, catch up on some sleep, do whatever you want.
Until American students address an unacceptable spring break culture at these popular destinations, it simply isn’t a worth the trip. Besides, by the end of the week, Summer is just two months away.