16 Pentucket soccer players suspended for violating drug and alcohol policy

WEST NEWBURY, Mass. — Sixteen Pentucket Regional High School soccer players are on the bench after the district says they’re in potential violation of the Mass. Interscholastic Athletic Association’s drug and alcohol policy.

The schools superintendent in Pentucket says the district has taken the situation very seriously and the players have been suspended 25-percent of the season.

Some parents say the punishment is too harsh.

“I don’t think it’s a shocking situation. I think it’s something every school and every school district deals with,” Superintendent Jeff Mulqueen said.

Boxford Police Chief James Ritter told FOX25 the girls were at his home for a sleepover after a soccer tournament over the weekend when one of the players snuck a bottle of vodka into the home and took a photo of the girls drinking from it. The photo was then posted to social media.

Ritter said he and his wife don't keep alcohol in the home. He said they had no idea of the situation until the school notified them of the violation.

"It was a supervised environment. I'm well aware of the law around this. You never think it's gonna happen to you. You do your best as a parent. You never think you have to search the bags of the girls varsity soccer team. The girls know the policy and they have to pay price,” Chief Ritter told FOX25.

Pentucket Regional School officials are taking swift action after getting a tip that 16 members of the girls’ soccer team may have violated the MIAA’s chemical health policy.

“What I do know, it wasn’t on campus…so we’ll need to work with families pretty closely about how to help their children,” Superintendent Mulqueen said.

Officials would not confirm the details, but said the girls involved will be benched for at least 25-percent of the games with penalties varying per player.

“It affects…the rest of the team, too. So their season is pretty much gone at this point,” parent Mike Montecalvo said.

Parents say they were notified of the incident in an email Tuesday afternoon and some say the punishment is too harsh.

“I think that’s way too much for these kids. They learned that lesson,” Montecalvo said.

“I think they’ll think twice next time,” parent John Patrikeas told FOX25. “But there’s a lot of zero-tolerance because of the liability associated with that once they find out.”

Officials are still investigating the incident and parents say they are concerned for the upcoming soccer season.