By Milton J. Valencia
Students at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School will have to bring a parent or guardian if they want to attend the school football team’s game on Friday, a tough new policy enacted in reaction to drinking among several students at last week's game.
Seven students were suspended after they were caught drunk or with alcohol on Friday, the football team’s home opener. At least two were treated by an ambulance on scene brought to a hospital by their parents. And school administrators believe many others were drinking as well, in a disregard of state law and school policy.
In some cases, school staff noticed students were inebriated. In another incident, police patrolling the school parking lot found four minors in possession of alcohol.
“Who knows what the total number was?” said John Ritchie, superintendent of the school district and principal of the high school. “There was just a sense that there was a large group of kids and they were drinking. Six of them had so much to drink they were falling down.”
Ritchie said the new requirement that a parent accompany a student will hold students accountable, while at the same time send a larger, public message that student drinking will not be tolerated. He said the requirement is for the next game until a long-term plan can be devised, and said the decision was better than alternatives that included not allowing students to attend Friday’s game at all.
He sent out two emails to parents this week regarding the incident.
"At Friday night's home opener football game, a lot of what we value and cherish at L-S came undone,'' Ritchie wrote. "Many L-S students obviously brought alcohol to the game, and many got drunk. A number of students became so intoxicated they had to be taken to the hospital. L-S staff and members of the Police Department were taxed to the limit dealing with obviously intoxicated students. Ambulances were brought in not to deal with football injuries, but to triage the results of life-threatening binge drinking of some spectators.''
"It was a bad scene,'' he continued. "Bad for those who had to deal with it, very bad for the image of the school in the community--which isn't what we need right now--and bad for the reputation of L-S students, whom we have always valued as being incredibly mature, responsible, and trustworthy.''