Nineteen students from a Cincinnati high school recently participated in an exchange program in Germany, where visiting beer gardens was part of the curriculum. Before the students left, their parents gave permission for them to drink beer while at the gardens to experience the local culture
The students could legally drink in Germany, school photographs of past trips showed earlier exchange students drinking beer, and there is no school policy against it. At least 25 parents later testified before the school board that they understood that discipline for any infractions would be a family decision.
One or two of the students managed to drink excessively. One of the teacher chaperones then tried to discourage the drinking but did not order the students to stop.
The schools district suspended 17 of the students, but later reduced the punishment. However, parents of two of the students are suing the school, its school board and superintendent for interfering with parental rights. “The policy that was enunciated was one that clearly put the ball in the parents’ court,” said one of the lawyers.
The school has not explained its action in punishing the legal consumption of alcohol and allegedly interfering with parental rights.