Graduation season always brings with it news of school administrators somewhere taking advantage of one last chance to control the lives of the kids they’ve just sent out to the world.
In Saugus, Mass., six graduates were suspended from the state lacrosse tournament (which occurred after commencement) because they smoked cigars to celebrate the festivities.
Saugus public schools, like a lot of public schools, has an anti-tobacco policy for athletes.
Six of the seven seniors on the team will sit out today’s playoff game, the Saugus Advertiser says.
“My job for the team is to literally get pelted with balls and that’s nothing compared to how I feel about not being able to play in my last game of my career over a tradition,” goalie Alex DeBrito tweeted.
My job for the team is to literally get pelted with balls and that’s nothing compared to how I feel about not being able to play in my last game of my career over a tradition. Oh, and in case anyone cares this is the team we are playing tommorow doing the same thing we were pic.twitter.com/DePDbhupHS
— Ãłēx DêBrítø (@alexdoritos1016) June 4, 2018
Liz Marchese, a member of the school board, acknowledged the cigar-smoking tradition has been ignored in the past. But not this time.
“We are all responsible to some degree and fingers cannot be pointed at just one individual,” Marchese said in a statement emailed to the Advertiser. “For years, the smoking of the traditional ‘cigar’ has been allowed and overlooked at graduation. By our tacit allowance, we as a whole have sent mixed messages to our students that there will be no consequence. That was wrong and unfair. What should have been a celebration of the culmination of their years as Sachem students will now forever be marred. I know in my heart there was no mal intent to break rules but only to celebrate their years of accomplishment with family and friends. I believe that sometimes we have to look at the purpose or intent behind a rule to really see if a rule was broken or not. Regrettably, this whole situation could have been avoided had an email been sent or announcement been made prior to the commencement of graduation ceremonies reminding everyone of the tobacco use policy, especially in light of past practices. I am confident that in the future there will be no gray area and this will never happen again.”
The six suspended players say they’ll show up today to cheer for their teammates.