Once again, Castleton students are at the forefront of an alcohol-related debate and it is becoming more difficult to support their sides of issues.
Nine students were issued breathalyzer tests after a night of drinking and eight of them failed and were issued tickets by Castleton Police. However, before they were tested, they were making their way toward a safe ride van parked off Exit 5 and attracted the officer’s attention by running across the road.
It’s understandable that the students were reprimanded based on Castleton’s zero-tolerance policy for under-aged drinking, but giving them tickets was overkill.
Issuing them tickets instead of just a warning completely diminishes the point of Safe Ride and the students’, for lack of better words, used good judgment in calling for a ride and not driving or walking home. They made the right decision, and got tickets for it.
There’s something to be said for the fact that if a student is underage he or she shouldn’t be consuming alcohol. However, what would the point of a Safe Ride be for only students 21 and older? The option to go out drinking is not as amusing for them and, since they’re legal and can purchase alcohol, they can drink in their own home and are responsible for their own transportation.
Maybe it was a scare tactic to send a message to students to curb late-night drinking or a desperate push to add pressure to the mounting angst against students’ revelry. People of this town have been up to their chins this semester surrounded by an unprecedented turnout of partying. It has gotten bad enough that our school is helping fund Castleton police with $5,000 to try to curb late night bad behavior.
And who can blame them? A few days of cleaning our neighbors’ yards isn’t enough to convince them that we’re not a half-bad crowd.
Students need to make their own decisions in order to learn. They need to know when they are right and when they are wrong. And sometimes, such as now, they need to be forgiven, warned, and not made into scapegoats.
It’s sad that only the negatives stand out in the spotlight and are remembered even though every day good choices are made, like when Safe Ride is utilized instead of driving of walking. But given the current climate in town, maybe students who are underage and drinking alcohol need to ask themselves is the risk worth the reward?
- Anders Ax