Friday, November 5, 1999
Concerns about student drinking at CCHS Dances
Student dances at Concord-Carlisle High School could be canceled unless students and administrators can come up with a solution to the problem of student drinking. Principal Elaine DiCicco said that at the first dance of the year there were some students who had been drinking and she wanted to address the problem before anyone got hurt from driving under the influence of alcohol. DiCicco spoke with student government officers and asked them to come up with a solution or she would have to stop the dances out of safety concerns.
According to students on the advisory committee who attended the October 26 regional school committee meeting, some students drink before dances and arrive drunk. Concord police officers are assigned to each dance and are on duty at the door as students enter. Parent chaperones also attend each dance to help supervise the social events.
Eleven dances a year are held at CCHS while some neighboring towns, such as Acton, have stopped holding dances due to problems with student drinking, according to DiCicco. She would like to see parents and students come up with a solution so the dances won't have to be canceled, and she intends to invite them all to a meeting to discuss the issue.
In response to a question from Concord school committee member Lauren Walters about using a breathalyzer test, teacher Renee Covalucci said students are opposed to police administering the tests. Policy, already set by the school to prevent drinking, requires that students leave their bags outside the dance to prevent alcohol from entering the building. Students are not permitted to leave the dance early unless a parent is notified, or to return after leaving a dance.
In response to the attention being given to the drinking issue, DiCicco pointed out that at the recent Halloween Dance over 30 parent chaperones were in attendance, along with the school's alcohol prevention counselor, two faculty advisors, and two police officers. The dance was a success without any reported incidents, she said.
In a separate issue brought before the RSC, student representative Jody Kelman conveyed a concern that some teachers do not "connect" with students. DiCicco responded that teacher supervisors have responsibility for evaluating teachers. However, she said student input is sought via student commentary sheets that are handed out by teachers at the end of the school year. These allow students to evaluate the course and teacher. The sheets are then returned to the teacher to read and then given to the teacher's supervisor.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito