Championship celebration ends with charges against Falmouth students, parents
FALMOUTH — A large party billed as a chemical-free celebration of the high school's championship boys' lacrosse and baseball teams ended with alcohol-related charges against three minors Saturday night.
One of the teenagers was arrested. Two adults also received summonses from police.
According to Lt. John Kilbride of the Falmouth Police Department, police received an anonymous tip reporting a party involving minors at 35 Fieldstone Lane at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
Sgt. George Savidge was the first to respond and was met by the homeowner, Barry Spencer, 52, who Kilbride said assured Savidge that the party was chem-free and the kids were just celebrating their state titles.
Satisfied with the answer, Savidge left the scene.
But shortly afterwards, Officer Luke Hallett stopped a nearby car full of teenagers. According to Kilbride, the individuals in the car had been drinking and when Hallett questioned them they said they were coming from the Spencer home.
Savidge, Hallett and Officer Dennis Ryder, along with officers from Cumberland, then returned to the home.
“In the course of investigating, officers discovered 75 to 100 kids, some screaming profanities at officers and some running through the woods,” Kilbride said. “There was evidence of alcohol consumption and drug use, and some of the kids were throwing up. Officers had to deal with a pretty difficult scene and they were concerned about the drug use, the alcohol use and the vast amount of vomit they were seeing.”
As officers searched the neighborhood for those who ran off, they found one minor unconscious on the lawn of a neighbor's yard. Officers had a difficult time reviving him and called a rescue unit to take care of him.
Kilbride said it is unfortunate that the people involved conducted themselves in the way they did after winning the state championships, putting themselves and officers at risk.
“They were not making good decisions and (in my mind were) tainting the championship,” he said.
Although Kilbride said there were individuals at the party wearing state championship baseball and lacrosse shirts, Falmouth High School Principal Gregg Palmer on Tuesday said there is no way for school officials to know who was present, which makes disciplinary action difficult.
“We don't know what parties occur or who was there,” Palmer said. “There's a legal wall that exists to protect juvenile offenders, so there's so much we don't know.”
Another area that makes possible disciplinary action questionable is the school's policy on student-athlete alcohol and drug use.
The Falmouth High School policy only governs the time when an athlete is in season. If a student-athlete is caught with drugs or alcohol during their season, there is a mandatory period of time they would be banned from all team activities, including games, practices and other team activities. There is no action taken by the school if the student is out of season – a policy Palmer said may have to be re-examined.
“It is something we have to take a look at, what is the last day of competition, does the season literally end at the very final bell of the game that's being played?” he said.
Palmer said that the primary concern of the school is that students are safe and making good decisions, and the policies in place are to guide them toward good decisions.
“I think when anything happens, lots of times we get hung up on specific details and nuances about things like policy and penalty, and if those structures are doing what they should be doing. They are ultimately trying to keep students safe.”
Kilbride said two minors, both from Falmouth, were charged with possession of alcohol by consumption, and were released. The third, also from Falmouth, was arrested and charged with administrative operating under the influence when she nearly hit an officer while trying to drive away from the party.
He said he anticipates three or four more individuals will also be charged.
Spencer and his wife, Paula Spencer, 52, were both summonsed for allowing minors to possess and consume alcohol. They were not arrested, according to Kilbride, because some other parents refused to pick up their children and someone needed to stay at the home, along with an officer, to ensure the safety of those who remained.