When Spring Break Goes Too Wild

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A promotional image from the dark comedy "Spring Breakers."
A promotional image from the dark comedy "Spring Breakers."

Spring break was invented in the 1950s. The late novelist and professor Glendon Swarthout heard his students at Michigan State talking about going to Florida instead of going home. He went along and came back to write a book, which became a movie "Where the Boys Are."

"Some of the things, you would have to be here to believe."

Sheriff Frank McKeithen

Fast forward to today's new hit "Spring Breakers." Maybe a little exaggerated, but it's a darker view that feels more familiar to law officers in Florida.

One law enforcement official in the "spring break capital of the world," Panama Beach City, has come up with a novel way to deal with the veritable invasion of college students who may not be on their best behavior.

Bay County, Fla., Sheriff Frank McKeithen has been operating a booking and holding center on the beach for the past three years during spring break.

"This is not for the convenience of the students, this is for the convenience of the officer," McKeithen told Here & Now's Robin Young.

The regular jail is more than an hour from the beach, and there were concerns about temporarily holding the students in vans, as they were in past years.

Mckeithen says there are approximately 500 more bookings during spring break than at other times of year, but given that more than two million people come into his jurisdiction during spring break, he thinks that's a pretty good ratio.

"We just ask that people behave in our house as they would in their house, but that doesn't happen," he said. "Some of the things, you would have to be here to believe."


This segment aired on March 27, 2013.


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