Administration suspends 4 on suspicion of substance abuse at home basketball game

Scott Nussbaum

Reports that students were intoxicated at the boys’ basketball game against Loyola Jan. 23 prompted administrators to pull students out of the crowd and suspend four students, students said.

The administration declined to confirm or deny whether or how students were removed from the crowd or punished, as administration policy is to not comment on individual disciplinary cases.

“I think there were disciplinary circumstances that were unrelated to the game, [or to] the Fanatics, and were related only to bad decisions by a few people,” President Rick Commons said.

A student who wishes to remain anonymous confirmed that he was high at the game and, along with three other students, was suspended for one day and had to remain home Monday, Jan. 26.

According to the Upper School Handbook, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at school or school-sanctioned events “may result in expulsion.”

“School is school, and our entire community expects behavior to be consistent regardless to the type of activity taking place at school, and those activities include classes, they include rehearsals and practices, they include games, they include exhibits,” Head of Upper School Audrius Barzdukas said. “And so I think we are very consistent about our expectations for how you should behave when you come to school.”

Another student who attended the game and wishes to remain anonymous said that he believes that punishment was administered in an uneven way.

The student attended the game while high on marijuana and said some students were picked out of the crowd while others were not.

“I saw other kids almost definitely more inebriated and blatantly so, but there were no repercussions for them, so I feel like it is just a hard situation for everyone,” the student said.

He said one of his friends was pulled out of the crowd and questioned by Barzdukas as to whether she was high. After this discussion, the group of students left the game. During the next day at school, he and his friend both met with their deans to discuss the situation but were not punished. The student said that in the meeting he neither confirmed nor denied that he was high.

“There is this underlying sense that the school is suspending so it doesn’t need to be a public expulsion and there isn’t any comfortable middle ground that students can settle into,” the student said.

However, Barzdukas feels that the administration appropriately enforces the student handbook, including infractions involving drugs and alcohol.

“We think you should come to school and fully experience all the school has to offer and that if you are coming to school altered in some sort of fundamental way, there is something wrong and there is some sort of a problem,” Barzdukas said. “This is not the place to be like that, and so if we know about it, we do something about it, and we have been very consistent about that, and we are going to continue to be that way. We are going to continue to help people.”