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Teen dances face the axe

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Mar 10/04) - Teen dances may be discontinued at the Rankin Inlet community centre if alcohol consumption can't be brought under control.

The situation came to a head during a dance this past month when one young male had to be subdued after a group of teens showed up intoxicated and got out of control.

NNSL photo

Rankin Inlet Deputy Mayor Justin Merritt says hamlet bylaw officers have to help supervise teenage dances if they are to continue at the community hall. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Rankin Deputy Mayor Justin Merritt says one young man was so out of control a Taser stun gun had to be used to subdue him.

"Even after using that, they still had to wrestle him down and the RCMP took three or four of them to the drunk tank that night," said Merritt.

"It's too much when it reaches that point.

"We had similar problems in the past, but those were more with adults, not so much with younger people."

Merritt says if the dances are to continue, council will have to instruct hamlet bylaw officers to help provide supervision.

"The RCMP told council that the bylaw officers should simply ask anyone under the influence of alcohol to leave and, if they don't comply, the police should be summoned immediately before any trouble arises," says Merritt.

He says he wants to see the dances tried again with proper supervision before any further action is taken.

He says the high school holds dances all the time with few problems.

"The kids here need all the activities we can give them and it's a shame to, once again, see everyone lose out due to the actions of a few.

"But we can't continue to hold these dances without proper supervision.

"Somebody's going to get hurt through violence or freeze to death from drinking," he says.

One last chance

Merritt says younger kids are sent home early from the dances and he doesn't want to see the dances become restricted to one specific age group.

He says the problem isn't one of age, it's one of alcohol abuse.

"The hamlet passed a motion years ago prohibiting alcohol at the arena and it's time to start strictly enforcing that bylaw," says Merritt.

"If the bylaw officers, in co-operation with the police, can't control them (dances), then we're going to have to shut them down."