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HOTEL TRIES TO CANCEL AFTER-PROM PARTIES.

Byline: Yvette Cabrera Daily News Staff Writer

As hundreds of teens danced under the stars Saturday night, one group of local high school students faced a last-minute problem: where to spend the night after the prom.

On Saturday morning, Simi Valley High School senior Michael Galvin said he received a call from the Marriott Residence Inn in Oxnard, where he had made reservations for prom night on his parents' credit card.

``We're not going to service prom people,'' Galvin, 18, said he was told by a hotel employee Saturday morning, although he had received a confirmation number after he made the reservation April 2.

``They said (students) trash their hotel on prom night. I said we're planning on staying in our own room; we're not throwing some big party.''

A hotel employee, contacted Saturday by the Daily News, said she was familiar with the complaint but refused to comment.

Galvin and at least five other students at his school received similar calls from hotel personnel beginning Friday, according to attorney Barbara St. Ours, who is Galvin's aunt and was trying to help the students.

St. Ours said innkeepers are legally required to provide rooms to all guests who have reserved them unless there is reasonable cause to refuse, such as inability to pay, inebriation or infection with a contagious disease likely to be spread.

``But to say you're just not going to get a room and that's our policy is a violation of these students' civil rights,'' said St. Ours.

St. Ours said she spoke with several hotel employees and was told that management feared possible skirmishes among students from rival high schools staying at the hotel Saturday night.

``The hotel employee said she once managed a hotel in Anaheim, and rival schools got into a fight, and somebody was shot. And I said that has nothing to do with these kids,'' St. Ours said.

There has been at least one fatal shooting after a prom in Anaheim in the 1990s. Berlyn Cosman, a 17-year-old basketball star at Crescenta Valley High School, died after she was shot in her sleep in an Anaheim hotel where she went on June 1, 1991, to attend an after-prom party. Paul Michael Crowder, a high school dropout from La Crescenta, claimed that a gun he brought to the party went off accidentally. In November of 1991, he was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison for second-degree murder.

Despite the Oxnard Marriott Residence Inn's threat to turn away students dressed in prom clothes or arriving in limousines, Galvin and his friends planned to go to the hotel after the prom to try to get the room he reserved.

St. Ours said she planned to make an issue of the matter if the hotel disappointed students who, she said, deserve good treatment.

``I've offered to set up limos and pay to send some of these kids to the prom because I'm impressed with their behavior and the kind of kids they are,'' St. Ours said. ``One of these students is the quarterback of a football team who's always in the newspaper. These are scholar-athletes, kids of firemen and executives. These aren't gang members with no parental control.''
COPYRIGHT 1997 Daily News
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Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 4, 1997
Words:533
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