A new school rule could change the party culture at UAHS
by Clare Driscoll, ’19
Students congregate in the dim basement of a parentless house, sharing conversation and Juuls. Teens drink from red solo cups as ping-pong balls fly through the air into a pool of “Natty.” Welcome to a high school party in UA.
Senior Jen Doe*, who said she often attends parties, said not everyone does drugs or drinks alcohol while there.
“Some students at that party only attend for the company and to give a safe ride home,” Doe said.
While these students may have felt immune to academic consequences before, a new rule in the UA Students Rights and Responsibilities Handbook may change their weekend plans.
READ YOUR RULES
A new rule added to the handbook over the summer changes the school’s policy on students at parties where drugs or alcohol are present.
The new provision prohibits “any extracurricular participant” from “hosting or attending (as determined by a law enforcement agency or school district employee) a party where alcohol or other drugs are consumed.”
According to the new rule, students may also face repercussions if they do not report those that were also at the party.
“In the event that a student-athlete unintentionally finds themselves in this situation, they must immediately remove themselves and self-report … to the athletic director,” the updated student handbook said.
Principal Andrew Theado clarified that this new rule only applies to people who participate in extracurriculars.
“Students who participate in extracurricular activities like athletics are held to a higher standard. This code of conduct is 24/7 every day of the year,” Theado said. “So if there was a party over the weekend, the students who are participating in an extracurricular would have consequences.”
The provision’s language is still being edited to include a specific list of which extracurricular activities would be affected.
“We know for sure that co-curricular activities will not be [affected]. Examples of a co-curricular would be Marching Band and vocal ensemble,” Theado said.
In other words, if a student involved in extracurriculars attends a party with illegal substances and does not report it, he or she would face the same consequences as someone who uses illegal substances at the party. These punishments can range from loss of playing time to police intervention.
Does it help?
Doe does not think the new rule will deter students from going to parties.
“The people who go to parties and do drugs already know that they’re breaking the rules. More rules aren’t going to stop them,” Doe said.
Doe, who is also a student-athlete, said she does not believe people will self-report.
“You wouldn’t want to be the person who ruins everyone else’s season in order to save your own. That’s just not cool. I know I wouldn’t be that person and I can’t name someone who would,” Doe said.
After learning about the new rule, Doe said she felt concerned for the safety of students and community members.
“A lot of the time the people who are at parties but not drinking are the ones who drive people home. If they stop partying because of this rule, it could lead to more drunk drivers on the road,” Doe said. “I wouldn’t want to have to choose between my season or my friend’s life.”
But Theado said there are ways to still get people home safely without having to attend the party.
“To avoid the consequences, a student trying to drive someone home will have to do so without entering the party,” Theado said