Schools Embrace New Way To Combat Underage Drinking — But Is It Fair?

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(CBS) — Many high schools are embracing a new trend to combat underage drinking and other student antics.

Corona del Mar High School’s homecoming football game went on as scheduled last week. But this past weekend’s homecoming dance was canceled. Administrators said some of their students were drinking and became disruptive at a football game last month, prompting them to cancel the dance. But some wonder whether it’s counterproductive to punish everyone for the actions of a few, reports CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal.

“The behavior of many of our student fans was despicable and deplorable,” principal Kathy Scott said in a Facebook video.

“That’s just out of control. You know, when you’re underage, you shouldn’t be drinking anyways,” said a parent, Angela Bradford.

The school decided to send a clear signal.

“As a consequence to the extremely inappropriate and totally inexcusable behavior, the homecoming activities have been canceled,” Scott said.

“You’re punishing everybody because of a select bunch of idiots. I mean, come on,” said one parent, Gil Cottrell.

At Walpole High School south of Boston, student drinking at school dances forced the principal to halt them all, except for prom.

“It kind of takes away from the other kids ‘cause they want to have fun at the dance, too,” said a student, Christopher Reilly.

Walpole’s principal, Stephen Imbusch, issued a statement to CBS News. “We are working together to move forward and address this age-old, but increasingly pervasive issue head on.”

“I think some of the responsibility has to go to the parents,” said Zoltan Csuka, whose child attends Coronda del Mar.

The National Institute of Health says the percentage of high school students engaging in binge drinking has actually declined over the past decade, but the percentage of students drinking at levels far beyond the binge threshold is a growing concern.

Rob Pickell and his daughter Sammy, who attends Corona Del Mar High School, understand why the homecoming dance was canceled.

“I think sometimes, actions as big as that are actually necessary, even though it’s a real bummer for the students who weren’t participating,” Sammy said.

“If it actually facilitates something positive, then it was the right decision. And if that doesn’t happen, then you certainly could question whether that was the right call,” said her father.

High school officials in Portland, Maine say they canceled almost all their dances because of concerns over students attending drunk or under the influence of drugs.

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