176 9 LINKEDIN 1 COMMENTMORE

WESTBROOK, Maine

(NEWS CENTER) -- Students at Westbrook High School are speaking up in an effort to repair the school's reputation.

In October, several student athletes were disciplined for taking part in an underage drinking party. Initially, they were kicked off their sports teams, but that decision was reversed, which allowed some of them to participate in playoff games. The decision sparked an outcry in the community, with residents voicing support for the decision, while others felt the teens should have been held accountable for their actions. The controversy lead the school's athletic administrator to resign his position.

Last week, another, smaller group of students was busted for drinking after police were called to a home for a report of a loud, large party. This time several students were arrested and suspended.

As a result of these very public incidents, students at Westbrook High School are feeling frustration and disappointment that the actions of a few are tarnishing the image of their school and overshadowing the good things the majority of students enrolled there are doing.

"I guess our school has been under a microscope since October," explained junior Hannah Smith. "This is not our school, and this is not who we are."

"I feel bad that people meet me and ask where I am from, and I say where I am from proudly, and they are like, 'Oh, I'm sorry' or they assume I go to a school where everybody is trashy, and that is not true," she said. "It is really discouraging because all of the work that we have done since the party in October to sort of combat the problem has, I don't want to say it has gone out the window, but it is a definite setback and I feel like we are back at square one."

In March, the school began hosting a series of forums about underage drinking and the student code of conduct. With graduation quickly approaching, the hope was that the issue was something that was in the past, but the new allegations have reopened old wounds.

"The minority of Westbrook High School that are doing bad things, and making bad decisions, are giving the community as a whole a bad rap," stated junior Morgan Mulkern. "I feel like people that aren't from this community look down upon us because of the negative media attention that Westbrook gets."

"If you look at the majority of us, there's what 700-something kids, and if you look at the majority of them, you see what good kids we have," said sophomore Mazin Ahmed. "This is our community, this is our school, we don't want anything bad to happen to it."

Principal Jon Ross says it has been a challenging year as administrators work to hold kids accountable for making poor choices. He says those choices are tanking the reputation of the school, and unfairly impacting kids who are committed to being good students and active in their community.

He says they have been revising the schools policies on drinking, and being present where others are drinking.

"Any of our students that have not received the message have certainly just tuned us out," said Ross.

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
176 9 LINKEDIN 1 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.wcsh6.com/1kuL32Y