Homecoming is tomorrow and despite last year's event where, according to Inklings , three girls were sent to the hospital and eight other students were suspended, Staples High School Principal John Dodig said he is optimistic about this year's event.
"We've put a few things in place this year that we didn't last year to prompt more positive behavior," Dodig said. "A lot of what we did in preparation for Homecoming is akin to things we do before each of the proms."
For starters, a letter outlining what the consequences will be if students are caught drinking or intoxicated at Homecoming was sent home. These consequences include a suspension for up to 10 days and for juniors and seniors, the loss of parking privileges and/or the chance to enter into the parking lottery in the future.
On Thursday, a documentary about the alcohol related death of a college freshman was shown at a junior/senior and a freshmen/sophomore assembly. The film, " Haze ," was purchased by the Staples Teen Awareness Group (TAG) after last year's Homecoming, Dodig said.
On Tuesday night, about 100 adults and 30 TAG members gathered at the Bedford Middle School cafeteria to discus underage drinking and ways it can be addressed at " Conversation in the Community on Underage Drinking ," a program sponsored by the Staples PTA and the Westport Public Library.
Perhaps the biggest attempt to deter students from drinking before the Homecoming football game was changing the event from 2 p.m. to 10 a.m.
"If you want to drink, you're going to have to wake up earlier," said Dodig at Tuesday night's forum.
Despite all these efforts, Staples senior Kate Shanahan thinks some students are still going to drink.
"The movie was really sad and powerful but I don't think it'll have a lasting effect," she said. "I don't think [Homecoming] will be as bad as last year's because the repercussions are worse but there are 500 kids in our grade: of course some kids are still going to drink."
A junior, who wished to remain nameless, agreed.
"So many kids are planning on partying Friday night. Students might not drink at the game but they are still going to drink; it's just a question of when. Before or after?" he said.
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