Thursday January 19, 2012

NEAL P. GOSWAMI

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- Five teenagers have been cited by police for underage drinking and possession of marijuana after a small party was busted over the weekend that sent two people to the hospital.

Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette said police were called by a woman on Jan. 14 to report a loud party on Bradford Street. The woman said there appeared to be a number of people consuming alcohol who were not of age.

Doucette said there were 10 juveniles in the apartment with alcohol and marijuana present. One 14-year-old female said she was not feeling well and was taken to the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center by Bennington Rescue.

A male who said he had been smoking marijuana was "swaying back and forth" and had to be helped to the ground, according to Doucette. He was also taken to the hospital for evaluation.

A 14-year-old female who was baby-sitting at the apartment claimed responsibility for the party, according to Doucette. All of the people at the party were cooperative, he said.

"Some of these kids are 13 and 14 years of age. It appeared that some of them had not used alcohol or marijuana before. This is a very dangerous situation that could have been far worse had someone not contacted the police," Doucette said. "This is not something we want to see in our community, where kids, and that's what they are, kids, are using drugs and alcohol.


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Police did not release the names of those cited because of their age. Some of the youths at the party are members of varsity sports programs at Mount Anthony Union High School. School Principal Sue Maguire said Thursday that any student involved in extra-curricular activities who was present at the party was subject to the school's alcohol and drug policy.

That policy concerning extracurricular activities, as posted on the school website, has students sign an agreement on the code of conduct before participating. A violation of the chemical use/possession policy results in, for a first offense, the student being suspended for one-quarter of the club or team activities or games for the season. The student would be allowed to practice with the team.

For a second offense, the student would be suspended from the club or team for the semester/season.

The party remains under investigation and further charges could be pending, Doucette said. Information has been shared with local school officials through the police department's school resource officer, he said.

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