“I’ve probably done four dances a year over the course of twenty-five years. That’s a hundred dances, a couple years maybe less. I’ve never, never experienced what I experienced here,” Principal Dr. Mark Sims said. “We knew students may have had drugs and alcohol at some point, but never did they bring items in the volume that they did at [homecoming]. I find that really discouraging because I don’t think I have ever had a better group of students as a school leader or as a teacher.”
Sims stopped two individuals from coming on campus at the homecoming dance that were potentially there to crash the dance or give people drugs or alcohol. According to Sims, more than two people were stopped that night and they were all clearly under the influence.
Sims was one of the people who cleaned the gym after the dance and said that over a dozen flasks of alcohol were found.
Students are not permitted to leave school dances early without being picked up by their legal guardian. Volunteer parents and a small number of teachers attend each dance to enforce this policy.
School staff have a responsibility to keep students safe from the time an individual leaves their home to come to a school event to the time they get home. In order to ensure students’ safety, new security measures have been added to dances.
At this past homecoming dance, nine volunteers–along with Sims, leadership teacher Michelle LeMieux and Assistant Principal Mike Casper–acted as safety-security chaperones. Dances are now supervised by two North Bay Security employees.
North Bay Security provides safety consulting for schools in the greater Bay Area. Penal code violations are a North Bay specialty. They have assisted staff when students have been caught with illegal substances in the past. At dances, they will assist San Marin faculty to prevent drug and alcohol use.
Leadership teacher Michelle LeMieux observed that students at homecoming, seemed to be arriving sober, were drinking during the dance, and then leaving the dance inebriated.
“If you’re leaving an event that way and something were to happen to you— repercussion and punishment aside—it would break my heart,” LeMieux said.