Alcohol worries prompt new stadium policy at Franklin Regional
A series of new practices to curb underage drinking at Franklin Regional home football games worked well Friday night, district officials said.
Last week, the district implemented stricter regulations at home football games, including prohibiting teens who plan to sit in the student “pit” section at Panther stadium from bringing bags or outside containers into football games.
“We want our kids to make healthy, safe and legal decisions,” Piraino said. “We care about our kids' health, safety and welfare.”
Any bag brought into the stadium can be checked by security, Piraino said, and Murrysville police officers were working at the gates to check students in individually.
The new practices went well on Friday, Assistant Superintendent Mary Catherine Rejac said Monday.
“It went extremely smoothly, and we had a nice showing of students and staff,” Reljac said. “There were no issues, and we had good feedback.”
The changes were spurred by student behavior at the Sept. 27 football game, Piraino said. During the 35-0 victory over Belle Vernon, a 17-year-old boy was charged with underage drinking. That was the first underage drinking arrest this school year, and the second in 2013, Murrysville police Chief Tom Seefeld said. In 2012, the department handled five incidents, he said.
“We don't experience a lot of (underage drinking reports), but that doesn't reflect everything that's going on,” Seefeld said. “We are concerned about it.”
The procedures will be in place for future football games, Piraino said.
“If we suspect anything is going on, police will be there to test and Breathalyze students.”
Principal Ron Suvak addressed the issue in an open response to an email he received from an anonymous senior in the high school PTO newsletter. The teen wrote about worries that students planned to drink before the homecoming game and dance and urged administrators to take action.
Suvak wrote that he agrees that “poor, illegal and unsafe” decisions have no place at the high school.
“Clearly, enough of our students are not (making safe decisions) — causing you to feel the need to send the email,” Suvak wrote. “You have my word that we will heed your advice; that we will not put our ‘head in the sand'; and that we take our obligation to help students make good, safe and legal decisions very seriously.”
Officer William “Buzz” Yakshe, the district's school resource officer, talks with students from a young age about driving under the influence and underage drinking, Seefeld said.
One major worry that police have with underage drinking is when teens binge drink, Seefeld said. Drinking alcohol quickly can cause alcohol poisoning, he said.
Teens experience a lot of peer pressure to drink, he said. But parents should start the conversation about the consequences of drinking at home and be aware if a teen has a drastic change in behavior.
“Parenting can be tough at times,” Seefeld said. “Communication is huge. It all begins at home with an open dialogue on the consequences of alcohol.”
Underage drinking isn't a problem unique to Franklin Regional, Piraino said.
“There are very few, if any, schools in this country not concerned with this issue,” Piraino said.
“This is all about what's best for our kids and safe for our kids.”
Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Twins keep trains on track at Western Pa. malls
- Murrysville’s Jenkins starts recording EP
- Franklin Regional works to boost auto call system participation