School Officials Concerned Over Teen Drinking

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

May 31, 2006

There could be changes to the code of conduct signed by students and parents following two drinking parties at two different high schools.

"It's not just about the potential of drinking and driving. There are other issues, such as toxicity, that could be associated with alcohol abuse. It's illegal," said Bruce Benson, the Assistant Superintendent of Albemarle County Schools.

Recent news of teenagers holding drinking parties throughout Albemarle County has school officials concerned. Albemarle county school officials are starting to re-think the way things are handled.

"We're actually are going back to take a look at some work that students have done previously to help us look at what would be most meaningful," added Benson.

In just two weeks, 35 teenagers, including one juvenile, were arrested at two parties for drinking alcohol.

Police have linked one of the parties to the death of a 17-year-old.

"We have a responsibility as a school division to educate students about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse," said Benson.

Students in Albemarle County, and their parents agree to an honor code, which states if a student breaks the law during a school sponsored event, they will be suspended. If it's a non-sponsored school event, it is different.

"In terms of disciplinary action, there's not a lot we can do," added Benson.

This was the case with the drinking parties. Unless the student is an athlete, then the school is allowed to suspend them from extracurricular activities for up to 30 days.

The Albemarle County school board is expected to go over the current code of conduct and discuss possible changes at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

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