During the first half of June, 19 people between the ages of 16 and 20 were treated for alcohol abuse at Atlantic General Hospital in nearby Berlin, said spokeswoman Toni Keiser. There's no way of telling if they were Senior Week partiers, she said, and more commonly, the hospital sees minor problems during those weeks — sunburn, scooter accidents and boardwalk splinters.
Despite the problems, merchants, hoteliers and property owners recognize the young grads as cash cows. While economists have not estimated Senior Week's impact on Ocean City, the town collected more than $8.9 million in tourism-related taxes in June. The taxes are levied on such items as hotel rooms, food, tourism-related sales and amusements, though not all of that can be attributed to the graduates.
Some homeowners have refused to rent to June bugs in the past, drawing a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Association in 2000 charging discrimination. Ultimately, the General Assembly passed a law making it illegal not to rent to the 18-year-old crowd, and allowing owners to charge high security deposits.
Many owners embrace renting to teens.
"Honestly, the condos we have, they would be empty the month of June" otherwise, said Ieve Sekace, who with her husband, Joe Jobson, runs a real estate management company catering to the Senior Week crowd.
She and some other property managers increase rents for Senior Week to cover costs for security and potential property damage. Weekly rents run as high as $4,000 for a house for 15 students to $1,200 for a one-bedroom that will hold three people.
Students sign a form saying they won't drink alcohol in the rental, and they get a brightly colored wristband that can't be removed without cutting it. Security guards patrol nightly, conducting random sweeps after 10 p.m. to kick out anyone without a wristband.
Sekace said she and her husband can spot the potential troublemakers. There was a group that arrived, cocksure and driving a Hummer and, sure enough, after checkout, she found holes punched in every kitchen cabinet. Then there was a New York group that left holes in the wall and, somehow, vomit on the ceiling.
Most are good tenants, though, cleaning the units to get their deposits back. She estimated that just 10 percent damage properties in some way.
Pat Terrill of Hileman Real Estate said security deposits on properties she rents for Senior Week are double the usual $500. After 25 years in Ocean City, she discounts parents' promises that their children will be perfect tenants.
"Your son is going to leave his good sense and his virtue at the toll booth when he passes the Bay Bridge," she tells them.
The estimated $50,000 in damage reported at the South Bethany home rented by the Landon group is an outlier, rental agencies said. Usually, property damage comes in below $500.
Ocean City has sought to diversify its tourism base, and this past June, events such as a firefighters convention, an air show and a Ravens Roost gathering drew older visitors. That may have pushed some teens to other towns, said police spokesman Mike Levy, and there were 723 alcohol-related crimes in June, down from 967 last year.
In the Delaware seaside towns that tout themselves as the "Quiet Resorts," many would prefer that Senior Week rowdiness remain someone else's problem.
Michael and Jayne Dickerson, owners of Ocean Plaza Tees on Bethany Beach's commercial strip, say June is tamer in their town.
"The ones we get are real nice kids, come from nice families," Michael Dickerson said.
Susan Jones, executive director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, said members often discuss whether to continue catering to Senior Week or make a concerted effort to attract older, better-behaved tourists as cities such as Fort Lauderdale have.
The Florida city became spring break central for college students after the 1960 movie, "Where The Boys Are." As the tradition grew increasingly rowdier, the city decided in the 1980s that it had had enough. The mayor went on national TV to tell college kids to party elsewhere, new anti-alcohol ordinances were enacted, and, slowly, the beach was transformed into a more adult destination with a Ritz-Carlton hotel and pricey restaurants.
But Jones and others worry how businesses would make enough money to replace the Senior Week dollars during the years of transition. Other East Coast beach towns are happy to cater to teens making their annual migration.
These days, Ocean City's biggest concern is pedestrian accidents. Mayor Rick Meehan said teens can get struck by cars as they walk in a crowd or across a street. He said the city launched a preventative campaign this year and has had no fatalities, after a year in which a couple of people were killed.
Couple traffic issues with trash and other problems, and Senior Week ends up being an ordeal, Meehan said.
"When the third week of June ends, there is a sort of sigh of relief," the mayor said. "They may not be your kids, but everyone may still be worried about them."