Reporting Gigi Barnett
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — No graduation ceremony. That’s the punishment for several Anne Arundel County students allegedly caught drinking on prom night.
Gigi Barnett reports parents and students say the punishment is too severe.
“They just don’t understand how hard it is to be a teenager and have something like that taken away from you,” said Aimee Liebman, 17.
Liebman paid more than $1,000 for her prom, including the dress, limo ride and tickets. But when she and eight other Northeast High students arrived at Ravens Stadium last month, they were all kicked out.
“As soon as we got into prom, they were all accusing us of drinking,” Liebman said.
Zero tolerance punishment came swiftly: no prom, a three-day suspension from school and no senior or graduation ceremonies.
Liebman says about half of the students in the limo were drinking, but she didn’t.
“We had to sign a senior promise and because there were other people in the car who had drank and brought alcohol with them, I was guilty by association,” Liebman said.
What’s more, Liebman says school leaders didn’t follow their policy to call parents or police if a student is caught with alcohol at a school event and the principal didn’t have proof that she was drinking.
“There’s absolutely no proof except that someone said they smelled alcohol,” said her stepmother, Eileen O’Connor-Liebman.
Now, after a two-week battle and a slew of letters sent to school leaders, the school board is upholding the principal’s decision.
Anne Arundel County school leaders won’t discuss what happened on camera or their decision.
“I definitely have learned a life lesson because I can’t enjoy the memory of prom and enjoy the memory of my walk across the stage [at graduation],” Liebman said.
Wednesday in court, one of the eight students filed a restraining order against the school, asking the judge to temporarily stop all school events. That would include graduation, which is Thursday night.
One of the other students took a Breathalyzer test that night. It confirmed that she had not been drinking, but school leaders are barring that student from graduation as well.