Refuse covers the parking lot floor. Rows of folding tables are piled high with liquor, solo cups and plastic shot glasses spilling off the sides. Students weave between parked cars, drinking alcohol discreetly from coffee cups. Some even drink openly from the can. This boldness, however, is not the result of the liquid confidence they pour down their throats, but rather from the sense of protection they feel, for their safe haven of intoxicated bliss is guarded by dozens of ignorant parents, who accept and therefore encourage their child’s behavior.
This year, in anticipation of the Maroons’ return to Metlife Stadium, the school administration has sent out an email stating that, if a student wants to sit in the “student section” of Metlife, a popular location where united students can cheer for the football team, they must spend $10 (up from $3) to purchase a ticket and place on one of the school’s fan buses, where they will be shuttled to and from the game. Although this is a good idea in the eyes of school administrators, they fail to see the principle issue of this action.
In this email, Ridgewood High School administrators have taken what little trust they had for their students and have thrown it out the window. No longer will I, or most of my fellow seniors, be able to independently attend this school event, and more importantly be trusted with the simple task of behaving ourselves and following New Jersey state laws. Us, seventeen and eighteen year olds with licenses, jobs, and responsibilities, cannot enjoy a meaningful senior experience and opportunity to support our sole remaining fall sports team without the meticulous and overbearing supervision of Ridgewood High School.
I hold no anger against the school administration. There was a problem with underage alcohol consumption at Metlife last year. Students were arrested, hospitalized, and suspended, and that is and continues to be a critical issue at Ridgewood High School. This new decree, however, is not the answer to this problem. Students are not the perpetrators, but rather the result of ignorant parenting.
Parental acceptance and encouragement of underage drinking has perpetuated the issue of underage drinking, and is directly responsible for the embarrassing events that took place last December. Parents were the ones who brought most of the alcohol, parents were the ones who looked the other way when their children poured liquor into their coffee cups, and parents were the ones who protected and coddled their children, by believing that if they drank under adult supervision, they would be fine. Their child’s drinking, however, led to arrests and suspensions and hospitalizations at Metlife, because parents set the example for their children that “pregaming” before the game was okay, and that as long as they were “supervised,” they were safe.
To the administration: Punish the parents instead of the students, punish both equally even. Just don’t lose faith in the competency and intelligence of Ridgewood High School students, and as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The people, when rightly and fully trusted will return the trust.”
sports and wellness editor
Graphics: Julian Umali