"Catch and release," high-school style

As winter’s icy grip fades, we begin to see the first signs of spring. The geese return. The days grow longer. The temperatures rise (with occasional oddball days like today). And drunken high schoolers show up to dances.

When 15-20 students showed up (out of 450) at the annual Luau Dance in Belmont, Massachusetts, officials acted quickly. They carefully evaluated the situation, and calculated the absolutely worst way they could handle the situation. And in the time-honored traditions of public education, that’s exactly what they did.

1) Overreact. They shut down the dance and called for ambulances. 14 ambulances. After fighting over the 6 drunken teenagers who could plausibly be taken to the hospital for intoxication, the other eight went back to their station.

2) Give the offenders a slap on the wrist. Monday morning, Belmont school officials gave twelve of the now-sober louts their punishment. For showing up at the dance intoxicated, in violation of several state laws, they decided to send a strong message. All the miscreants were given a one-day suspension.

3) Punish all the other students as well, so the offenders don’t feel picked on. School officials over in Westwood decided they would learn a lesson from Belmont’s problem. From now on, all students attending dances in Westwood will have to blow into breathalyzers ($300-$500 each).

I suppose the next step is to start a college fund for one of the offenders after they “bravely” recover from their alcohol problem…


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