BANGOR, Maine — Twenty-eight Bangor High School students have been suspended from their extra- and co-curricular activities for two weeks for participating in an overnight drinking party in Lincoln last weekend, Superintendent Betsy M. Webb said Thursday.
The high school’s principal, vice principal and athletic director opted to give the students the suspensions after meeting to discuss the matter late Wednesday afternoon, Webb said. One or two more students will not face disciplinary action because they did not participate in extra- or co-curricular activities.
“The suspensions are [set to begin] at different times depending on the activities they are involved in,” Webb said Thursday of the students. “Some activities are what we would call ‘in session’ even over next week, where other activities are almost suspended because they don’t start up until after we get back from break.”
Confidentiality laws prohibit school officials from identifying the students, who are all minors ages 15 and 16, but 10 extra- or co-curricular activities, including high school teams from five sports, will be affected by the disciplinary action, Webb said. She declined to be more specific.
Lincoln Police Chief William Lawrence said Thursday that police recounted the tickets they issued Sunday morning to participants at the McGregor Road drinking party and found 29 — not the 31 he previously stated — were summoned for illegal possession of alcohol. One was charged with illegal possession of marijuana. Lawrence did not release their names because they are juveniles.
It’s possible, he said, that not all attend Bangor High. Some students’ identification cards listed homes in Glenburn and Veazie. His officers were required to ensure the students’ physical safety, identify them, determine whether charges were warranted and notify parents, Lawrence said.
“Our focus,” Lawrence said, “wasn’t ‘Where do you go to school?’”
Police called Penobscot Valley Ambulance Service and had the teens examined for alcohol poisoning and hypothermia. The camp owner, a grandparent of one of the students, will not face charges. The grandparent wasn’t aware of the party and did not condone it, Lawrence said.
The students thwarted police efforts to charge the party’s supplier of alcohol by not identifying that person, Lawrence said.
According to school policies, students in grades 6-12 involved in interscholastic, extra- or co-curricular activities must sign a contract agreeing to refrain from all contact with alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia.
The school’s policy says a first offense may result in a suspension from school for as many as three days, while athletes and other students involved in extra- or co-curricular activities also will be suspended from those activities for two calendar weeks.
The students involved were first-time offenders, Webb said Thursday.
School officials typically don’t hold students accountable for activities outside school or school-sanctioned activities, but student-athletes and participants in any other co- or extra-curricular activities can face disciplinary action because those activities are considered a privilege.
Those students are held to a higher standard, Webb said.