When teenage athletes are caught drinking on a school trip, it's not uncommon for them to serve a suspension of some sort. What's much more rare is when half of an entire team is punished despite the fact that just two of its members took part in the action that landed them in hot water.
Incredibly, that's precisely what's happening in Utah, where Salt Lake City (Utah) Judge Memorial High suspended half of its entire girls basketball team for two games after just two of its members were caught drinking while traveling for a tournament on the first weekend on March.
According to the Deseret News, ABC4.com and a handful of other Utah outlets, the two players involved were immediately sent home from the tournament after they were caught drinking in their room. That, after all, is fairly standard operating procedure for such a clear-cut violation.
What happened next was much more surprising. When coaches and school officials learned that 12 other members of the team were aware that their two teammates had alcohol on the trip, those players were deemed to have violated the school's code of conduct. Because of that violation, those additional 12 players were also suspended for two games for failing to turn in their teammates, as the Judge Memorial code.
"A couple of girls made a mistake," Judge athletic director Dan Quinn told the News' Amy Donaldson. "And other kids either found out, knew about it or watched it happen and they didn't do anything, so they're being held accountable as well. … These are high school kids and we need to take the opportunity to teach, even the good kids, even the kids who wouldn't think of drinking, about peer pressure."
Quinn admitted that a number of the school's parents were upset about the decision to ban their daughters from athletic competitions when they weren't involved in the drinking, but Quinn insisted that the entire school would learn from the girls basketball team's mistake.
"There are some very mad parents," Quinn acknowledged. "But the rest of the girls are just being held to the Judge Memorial code of conduct. … Quite frankly, the school has an opportunity to make it a learning experience for everyone."