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Stamford High Cracks Down In Wake Of Alcohol Poisoning

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Stamford High School

The bleachers at Stamford High School were the site of a shocking incident on Feb. 17, 2011, as a freshman girl was found drunk and unresponsive. (Photo: CBS 2)

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A native New Yorker, Lou Young joined CBS 2 in June 1994. He has...
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STAMFORD, Conn. (CBS 2) — A tough cell phone search program is being credited for saving a Stamford High School freshman who got into trouble with alcohol. She was part of a group of students who were binge drinking on school grounds Thursday.

As CBS 2’s Lou Young reports, the school is making it clear that such behavior will not be tolerated.

“We’ve had a very serious incident that happened on campus this week,” Stamford High School Principal Donna Valentine said. “You really need to think about what you’re doing.”

Principal Valentine spoke to the freshman class about drugs, drinking and the close call of one of their classmates.

The kids in attendance know the 15-year-old girl, who was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning after drinking with friends at the school’s football stadium Thursday morning. They also know the eight fellow freshmen that have now been arrested for reckless endangerment after failing to call for help.

“What could have been a terrible tragedy has turned out to become a teachable moment,” Principal Valentine said.

The incident would have ended in tragedy if the school’s assistant principal hadn’t grabbed an intoxicated student’s cell phone and done an on-the-spot forensic search of its contents, finding video of the passed-out girl minutes after it had been taken.

“I said, ‘when was this taken,’ and he said, ‘today,’” Assistant Principal Tony Ramos said. “I said, ‘where is she now?’ And he said, ‘she’s still at the stadium.’”

The adults arrived in the nick of time, and now the police has high praise for the school’s aggressive cell phone search policy – something a police officer would never be permitted to do without a warrant.

“More cops in the school is not the answer if anybody is looking for a Band-Aid for it,” Stamford Police Sgt. Joseph Kennedy said. “You have to have a viable program in place.”

If they weren’t already up-to-speed, students are certainly aware of the program now.

“It’s just many students choose not to inform themselves about school rules – but that’s their problem,” junior Patrick Barrau said.

Stamford High School students are all on February break Friday night, but the school is planning an alcohol awareness forum after classes resume.

The freshman girl, who was treated for alcohol poisoning after the binge drinking, was released from the hospital Thursday.

The eight arrested teens – six boys and two girls – who were with her are all 15 and 16 years of age.

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