RANDOLPH, N.J. – Scores of Randolph students were pulled from the bleachers of a Randolph High School football game Friday night and compelled to undergo alcohol screening after a beer can either fell or was thrown in front of school personnel monitoring the student section, according to a statement from district Superintendent Jennifer A. Fano.
The students were sequestered in classrooms before the kickoff of the season-opening home victory over Livingston, creating what some parents described as a chaotic scene.
Parents were contacted to pick up their children and have them screened. District policy and regulation states that failure to comply with a screening is deemed a positive test result and will result in a suspension from school, Fano explained.
“Upon further investigation, several other containers of alcohol were identified,” Fano wrote in her Friday statement, posted on the the district website. “There were also other indicia that the students in this section had consumed alcohol. As educators, we are charged with enforcing policy. The law requires that we send students out to be tested when it appears that they may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
But some adults with ties to the school district say district administrators went too far, alleging district officials punished as many as 75 students students for the actions of a few, and caused additional confusion for both parents and medical professionals trying to comply with the order.
“Sadly, some of the student body marred the evening by attending the game under the influence of alcohol,” school board candidate Christopher C. Treston wrote in a Facebook post, according to the Daily Record. “At least a few smuggled alcohol into the game itself. … The safety of our students and the community is indeed paramount, and action by the school administration was absolutely warranted. However, the action taken at this event was disproportionate and exposed some serious gaps in district procedures.”
According to a public Facebook post by Randolph High School student and Class of 2018 President Nate Pangaro, “Before the game could begin, an administrator went to the front and told everyone to be quiet. He announced that he found an opened beer can on the ground that rolled to him, and that someone should confess to (whose) it was before everyone was taken in for a breathalyzer test. No one confessed, so people went into the school each row at a time to be tested.”
Students picked up by parents were eventually allowed to leave, Pangaro posted, but were given slips that they must go for urine and blood work at a medical facility to check for alcohol within two hours, or they would be subject to as much as five days of suspension.
Pangaro commented that he was at the game and agreed to testing because he did not want to be suspended.
The orders created anger and confusion among both parents and the medical personnel at area hospitals, according to Pangaro’s post.
“Students then proceeded to emergency rooms in Dover, Denville, Morristown and Livingston,” Christopher C. Treston, a school board candidate, posted on his campaign Facebook page. “The emergency departments at Dover and at Morristown were not given any warning of what was coming, and were overwhelmed.”