32 cited at student party in Scott Co.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

SIKESTON, Mo. -- A high school graduation party hosted by the parents of a Notre Dame Regional High School student ended late Sunday night with police citing more than 30 party-goers and the homeowners for alcohol violations.

Thirty-two people were cited with underage possession of alcohol. The hosts were cited with supplying alcohol to minors.

The principal at the Catholic high school in Cape Girardeau, Brother David Migliorino, voiced dismay Tuesday at the actions of some of his students and the party hosts.

"We can never be a part of such an activity," he wrote in a letter to the school's parents and guardians Tuesday and shared with the Southeast Missourian. "It is against the law and everything that we teach here at the school."

He also wrote, "Parents who believe that they are providing a 'safe house atmosphere' go against everything the school and its mission teaches every day."

Sikeston officers responded to a complaint of loud music and underage drinking at 11:37 p.m. Sunday at 123 Greenbrier Drive in Sikeston.

Officers arrived to find teenagers milling around the yard, Sikeston Department of Public Safety Capt. John Martin said. The officers saw tapped beer kegs as well as bottles of beer and wine coolers on tables.

The parents had a permit from the city of Sikeston to hold the party until midnight, Martin said. The permit allowed the hosts to hold a loud party without being in violation of noise abatement rules.

While 32 party-goers were cited for underage possession, Martin said, as many as 80 students may have attended the party at some time during the evening. A number of students were leaving when officers arrived, he said.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, Sikeston police hadn't released the names of the students or the parents cited by police for alcohol violations. No one was arrested at the party, Martin said.

The party followed the high school graduation ceremony held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Notre Dame Regional High School.

In the letter to parents, Migliorino wrote that he was informed of the situation in telephone calls from parents Monday and personally by 10 Notre Dame students. The students showed up at the principal's office to say they received citations but hadn't been drinking, Migliorino said.

Martin said the students weren't cited for consumption of alcohol but for possession of alcohol by minors. Officers, he said, typically issue such citations when they see minors physically in possession of alcoholic beverages as opposed to just being at a party.

Even if the 10 students in question didn't consume alcoholic beverages, they shouldn't have been at a party where alcohol was being served illegally, Notre Dame's principal said. "That was the wrong place to be," Migliorino said.

He said it appears the party-goers included students from other schools and that he didn't know how many of the students were from his school. Sikeston police also did not know which other area schools might have had students at the party.

Notre Dame has disciplined some students in connection with the party, Migliorino said.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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