By JOHN T. WARD
Heading into a championship football game early next month and hoping to “avert a tragedy,” Red Bank Regional officials are warning students about drug and alcohol use following several incidents of severe intoxication at home games this season.
In a “letter to parents” posted on Twitter by principal Risa Clay and on the school website late Tuesday afternoon, interim Superintendent Thomas Pagano wrote that Little Silver police, as well as school security personnel and administrators “have had to intervene and assist intoxicated students who had consumed alcohol either prior to or during football games on school grounds” this season.
“We had some students in such a state of inebriation that they were sent via ambulance to the hospital where they were treated for alcohol poisoning,” Pagano wrote.
The undefeated Buccaneers are slated to face off against Rumson-Fair Haven at High Point Stadium on the Piscataway campus of Rutgers for the Central Jersey Group 3 championship on Saturday, December 5. Noting that fans will be driving to the game, many of them to tailgate beforehand, Pagano warns any RBR students found to be using, possessing, or distributing alcohol or other drugs “will be disciplined according to the district’s Code of Student Conduct,” which he said the district can enforce even for “conduct away from school grounds.”
“Please know that enforcing our Code of Conduct and imposing consequences on your children is secondary to the safety and well being of each of them,” Pagano added. He encourages parents to talk to their kids about the dangers, and to know where their kids are going, with whom, and what they’ll be doing.
Here’s the full letter:
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of our concern regarding the behavior of some of our students at football games this fall and to warn you of further concerns that we have. On several occasions Little Silver police officers, our security personnel and school administrators have had to intervene and assist intoxicated students who had consumed alcohol either prior to or during football games on school grounds. We had some students in such a state of inebriation that they were sent via ambulance to the hospital where they were treated for alcohol poisoning. We would be remiss not to caution all of you of the danger associated with underage alcohol consumption by some of our students. We are trying to avert a tragedy such as we read about far too frequently in the newspapers.
On December 5th our Varsity Football Team will play for the Central Jersey Group III State Championship at Rutgers University’s High Point Stadium at 7:00pm. We anticipate large numbers of our students attending this game (some of whom will drive there) as well as alumni, parents, and friends. Many people who go to the game choose to tailgate beforehand in the parking lots surrounding the stadium. Students who attend Red Bank Regional High School who are found to be using, possessing, or distributing alcohol or other drugs will be disciplined according to the district’s Code of Student Conduct and the school has the authority to impose consequences on students for conduct away from school grounds. Please know that enforcing our Code of Conduct and imposing consequences on your children is secondary to the safety and well being of each of them.
Substance abuse, alcohol being among them, represents the single most dangerous threat to the future lives of our children. Communicate with your children. Know where they are going and whom they are going to be with and what they will be doing. Keeping our children safe and out of harm’s way is no easy task – but it is an obligation we must assume as the price for not doing so may be more than any of us ever wish to bear.
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.
On Thursday, the Bucs face Long Branch in the traditional Thanksgiving Day matchup, a home game for RBR. Pagano does not mention that game in his letter.