By: Kitty H
Watch any high school movie and there will inevitably be at least one scene featuring a teen party underaged kids making poor choices and having the time of their lives with their friends.
In high school horror stories, a weekend “rager” is busted by the police, and all of the teenagers that are too slow or too intoxicated to run away are nabbed by the cops. They are then quickly thrown in the back of a cruiser where they will wait to be picked up by their parents after a tense phone call. Then, to add insult to injury, their names are whisked off to the school, where the students are black-listed from all activities for the rest of their career, and it goes on their dreaded “file.”
Thankfully, the so-called “Monday List” after a party is much more fiction than fact. However there is a Memorandum of Understanding between the Duxbury Public Schools and the Duxbury Police Department, allowing for the “sharing of information and resources concerning incidences of threats, violence, or any other behavior or incidents that pose a substantial threat to the safety and well-being of students.” According to Assistant Principal Talbot, “The only students consequenced in that scenario, [a party,] are those that participate in an extracurricular activity,” such as clubs or sports. In situations such as these, the student is suspended for four weeks of their activity, unless they participate in a risk assessment program with a school psychologist. However, if the student or parent disagrees with the fact that the student was guilty of committing the alleged crime, they may contact the leader of the co-curricular and appeal, as long as it is within two days of the initial violation. If that meeting is not sufficient, the student and parents may go to the principal and the coordinator of the co-curricular, as long as the second meeting is scheduled within two days of the first one. The facts presented in this meeting are the last ones applicable in the case, and if there is a third appeal required, the superintendent must be appealed to, but no new evidence can be introduced at the time of the final appeal.
However, what viewers do not see is what happens when these seemingly benign parties go wrong.
The harshest punishments given to students are when the illegal activities occur on campus. Page 34 of the student Handbook States, a punishment for the “use or being under the effect of alcoholic beverage [or controlled substance], or possessing an alcoholic beverage [or controlled substance],” can result in a five-day suspension from classes and school activities and social probation for up to five weeks. Every student agrees to these terms, among others, when they turn in the handbook sign off sheet at the beginning of the year, telling the school that they have read the handbook and agree to all the terms specified by it. Additionally, Officer Weiler speaks at every beginning of the year class assembly, letting students know the consequences of risky behavior.
The MOA has been in affect since 2004, placing a police officer at the school to better share the information between the school and the Police Department. While the MOA allows the Police Department and the school to share information, it does not allow for as dramatic a story as it suggests.
According to Officer Weiler, in the 10 years that the MOA has been in effect “[the school has] seen an overall reduction in incidents… with an occasional spike in numbers during some years.”