Caroll school investigates reports of underage drinking

Honor students, athletes liable to face penalties

January 06, 2000|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Several Liberty High School students who attended a New Year's Eve party at the former home of a school counselor could be forced out of extracurricular activities -- including winter sports and the National Honor Society -- because of underage drinking.

As many as 20 students, nearly all of them seniors at the Eldersburg school, face disciplinary action that could affect college admissions and scholarships. The action includes making students ineligible for sports and extracurricular activities.

Liberty Principal Randy Clark said yesterday he has received information about two parties, one of which was at the former residence of Kathy Horneman, a Liberty High guidance counselor, and her husband, Les Horneman, who said it took place without their knowledge.

Clark said he is conducting an investigation. He would not place a time limit on the inquiry.

"As information comes to us, we are investigating and interviewing," Clark said. "We will determine if any policies were violated and then make a decision if the student is ineligible and advise of what the impact is on them."

Clark has interviewed several students, and a few have been removed from sports teams.

On the promise of anonymity, several parents spoke to The Sun about the parties, both of which were in Eldersburg. As many as 100 students, including Horneman's teen-age son, attended the first party on Friday. Several of them later drove to Horneman's former residence, which is vacant and for sale. The family has moved to another Eldersburg home.

"We never knew and never condoned a party at that house," said Les Horneman. "Those children were never invited there by us."

No parents were at either gathering, according to several students. A Liberty alumnus, now attending college out of state, used a video camera to tape the festivities. Clark has the video.

"The tape shows kids drinking," said senior Kelly Shabinaw, who attended both parties. "There was a lot of drinking, mostly beer."

Neighbors called Kathy Horneman early Saturday, telling her a car was parked in the middle of the street and something was amiss at the house. She confronted the teens and confiscated the tape.

Carroll County school policy says students may not use alcohol or be in situations where underage drinking occurs -- on or off school premises. The penalty is ineligibility for school sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities.

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