The Student News Site of Rockville High School


The Student News Site of Rockville High School


The Student News Site of Rockville High School


Staff Respond to Student Alcohol Consumption at School Events

Henry Tyman
Rockville High School presents a light display at the Homecoming Dance on Sept. 30, 2023.

Rockville High School has witnessed student alcohol consumption at recent school events. Staff are dedicated to ensuring student awareness about dangers of alcohol and to keeping the RHS community safe. 

Rockville’s September 30th Homecoming Dance ended 30 minutes early due to a combination of alcohol consumption and crowd surfing. Many students expressed confusion and disappointment about having to leave the dance early. 

“All I witnessed at homecoming was people dancing. There was music, and people were having a fun time until it was shut down,” sophomore Marina Littlefield said. 

At Homecoming, more than one student experienced alcohol-induced vomiting on the dance floor and in the building. Chaperones at the dance were required to physically encircle parts of the dance floor to prevent students dancing in these areas.

“[Drinking] is just inappropriate, because it causes unnecessary problems like people vomiting,” senior Peter Young said.

At events with a large number of students in attendance, like Homecoming and Prom, it becomes more difficult to control student activity. The most important factor for staff at large school sponsored events is student safety with enjoyment second. 

“The experience is always one of balance,” Assistant Principal Daniel Wagner said. “Our job is to balance the safety of the environment and also trying to promote students having a good time.”

Maryland law prohibits alcohol consumption for citizens under the age of 21.  MCPS prohibits the use, possession, purchase, sale, or distribution of alcohol or drugs on school property, during school hours, or while on school business.

“We are very clear with regard to behavioral expectations at events,” Assistant Principal Monica Abuliak said. “We expect our students to be not only sober but respectful of others in terms of language and space.”

If a student at RHS is found at a school event under the influence or in possession of alcohol, staff immediately ensures the safety of that student, calls home, and follows up with the consequence level outlined in the MCPS Student Code of Conduct. 

“Safety first, always. If you see that someone you know is under the influence, please find an adult and please make sure that that person receives help,” Abuliak said.

RHS staff highlights that alcohol consumption is particularly dangerous for individuals who have little experience with alcohol and knowing personal limits, particularly students. 

“The basis behind [age-restrictions on alcohol] is the decision making,” Wagner said. “The idea behind any kind of age component is getting individuals to a certain age where they have the full decision making capacity to choose what’s best for them and understand fully the consequences of those things.”

While RHS does not specifically review prohibited illegal alcohol-related activities at behavioral assemblies, staff expects students to be aware of legal regulations. Unsafe and unsupervised locations in the school building and at school events can be particularly dangerous for students under the influence.

“Right now our conversations are around our student wellness plan where, yes, we are concerned with student wellness, with student engagement, and some of the more destructive behaviors i.e. substance abuse,” Abuliak said. 

Rockville’s Bridge to Wellness Center has social workers that students can be referred to for extra help involving a range of issues. MCPS has also introduced Substance Use Prevention and Resiliency Education (SUPRE) to address high school students who have committed substance abuse disciplinary incidents on school property. 

“It’s been a continuous problem and continuous effort to maintain that this is a free-zone from all of those practices,” Wagner said. “The main underscore to that policy is making sure that everyone is safe, healthy, and can enjoy themselves as well.”

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