NORWALK - Ponus Ridge Middle School administrators plan to address concerns about student drinking with parents and students after learning last week that three students were selling mixed drinks to their peers on the school bus.
Principal Linda Sumpter said the three students who sold drinks on the bus to at least 20 other youths will be disciplined, but she would not say how. She said she has meet with the students and their parents.
The students were not turned over to police.
"This is huge," said Sumpter, who sent a letter home to parents this week. "I can't remember the last time a student has done that here, and certainly never to these proportions."
Middle school students were caught drinking alcohol they had brought from home mixed with juice, iced tea and Gatorade, and selling the bottles for as much as $2 each to other kids on the school bus, school officials said.
Sumpter said she was tipped off by a parent last Friday.
Sumpter said she informed the superintendent's office and is looking into whether other students were involved.
The students did not consume enough alcohol to become intoxicated, and Sumpter said the district's code of conduct does not require that officials always involve the police.
Police knew about the incident but can use discretion in incidents involving youths that are not serious criminal offenses, Sgt. Andre Velez said.
"We find it may be more effective for it to be handled by the parents and schools, rather than having the children appear in juvenile court," Velez said.
Many parents said they were shocked by the news.
Ponus Ridge Parent Teacher Student Organization co-president Mollie Medico said she was surprised that middle school students were drinking alcohol.
"I keep thinking they're sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders," Medico said. "That's very young, and it's very surprising to me. I thought I had a little bit longer before I had to actively start worrying about it."
The Ponus Ridge students have heard about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse from Ginger Katz of the Courage to Speak Foundation, who brings her program to schools throughout the state.
"Obviously, it went right over their heads," said Orlyna Starr, co-president of the PTSO.