Partying evokes consequences for students

When one thinks of high school, many different associations come to mind. One of these is partying, an activity that students have been participating in for generations.

It also can be an extremely dangerous activity — especially when alcohol and/or drugs are involved — and can come with consequences.

Principal Jason Smith is one of the administrators actively involved in enforcing the policy of drug-and-alcohol involvement with students and has seen how the consequences impact students.

“In doing this for eight years, I have seen athletes lose their season; I have seen athletes not be able to participate anymore in athletics. I have seen students, athlete or not, ruin their lives, be arrested, grades tend to drop,” Smith said. “I have seen college scholarships denied, I have seen college entrances denied. It is very, very risky behavior and I can tell you this — one of the things we do is, when it comes closer to graduation, when seniors are caught at senior parties and that type of thing, they put at risk their ability to walk at the Fairgrounds.”

While the school is able to implement punishment on a student for partying, the party must be affiliated with the school or school property or you must be a student athlete for the partying to come with consequences.

“If you are a student athlete and you sign the Athletic Code of Conduct, it is very clear that there are not any chances or warnings. We go by what the athletic handbook says,” Smith said. “If you are a non-student athlete, then it can really become a police issue versus school discipline because we do not control the community. But if issues at parties spill over into school and cause an educational disruption at school then students face disciplinary actions.”

At the beginning of their sports season, athletes must sign the Athletic Code of Conduct where the rules are listed for participating on a sports team. These rules include repercussions of drug and alcohol usage.

Warnings of consequences from usage of drugs and alcohol for athletes are also given by the administration, including Vice Principal Eric Fredericks.

“[Athletes]are warned in the context of the Athletic clearing packets that are given because all of the district policy related to successful participation in athletics in the Puyallup School District is outlined for them related to successful academic standing, [this means] not participating in drug and alcohol or other types of illicit or inappropriate activity,” Fredericks said. “All of that is outlined for them so the warning comes in that context but also Mr. Smith and I tend to walk around and visit with teams prior to their seasons and also get that out for them as well so they have got that at least twice, once in the athletic clearance packet and once again in the terms of Mr. Smith and I talking to them.”

From the athletic standpoint, there are two different types of offenses related to drug and alcohol usage, categorized into out-of-season violations and in-season violations.

“If it is an out-of-season violation we have a 15-day penalty upon the return of the season. If it is an in-season violation you are done. There is a chance to come back earlier but if you come back earlier it is with certain constraints,” Fredericks said. “Those constraints are that you are going to miss at least a game and in addition to that you are going to submit to drug and alcohol counseling and the recommendation with that. So we treat non-athletes and athletes differently.”

Boys basketball coach Scott Campbell supports the athletic code.

“I think [relying on others] is one of the heavy consequences with it but I am totally in support of our athletic code. I like it; I think it forces kids to decide if they want to play sports or if they want to be a part of [drugs and alcohol],” Campbell said.” And I do not think those things really happen by accident, I think they could be bad choices but I do not think they are by accident. To me an accident is tripping and falling down your stairs. Choosing to do drugs or alcohol at school or off campus is not an accident, it is a choice. I think it is good that people are held accountable for their choices.”

Overall, any rules regarding drug and alcohol use are there to keep students, athletes and their environment safe from the effects of drugs and alcohol.

“There is a belief among a lot of people, especially young people, that whatever consequences come from participating with drug or alcohol use, that, those severe consequences can or will never happen to [them] and it is not until it is too late that they come to the realization that something bad can happen,” Fredericks said. “Drugs and alcohol impair our abilities to think rationally as a result of not being able to think about a variety of things: we often find ourselves in compromising situations because our judgment is poor as a result of lowered inhibition.”