74 graduates from Andover’s Class of 2015 were taken into protective custody during a party in Sunapee, New Hampshire early on Monday morning, according to the “Eagle Tribune.” The party was held less than 12 hours after the graduates participated in the 2015 Commencement ceremonies on campus.
The graduate who rented the house in which the party took place was released on $2,500 personal recognizance, but may face up to a year in prison for facilitating an underage house party that involved alcohol, according to the “Tribune.”
“I am glad to know that no one was hurt and that all our graduates are safe and sound. Education takes many forms; I trust that all those who participated will learn from their lapse in judgment,” wrote Head of School John Palfrey in an email to The Phillipian.
Fifty-one of the graduates passed a breathalyzer test and will not be charged, according to an email from Palfrey to Andover students and parents. The 23 graduates who failed the breathalyzer test face charges for underage possession of alcohol and will appear in court on August 4, according to the “Tribune.” All 74 students were held in protective custody until a family member or friend arrived to pick them up.
In an email sent to all students and parents five days after the party, Palfrey addressed the party and expressed his disappointment in the graduates’ actions.
“We remain proud of all our graduates and what they achieved while at Andover. At the same time, the faculty and I are deeply disappointed about what happened in the hours after graduation. Andover stands for strong values: non sibi, above all, and respect and care for others. I have no doubt our graduates did learn these lessons at Andover, but some of them did not practice them that night. Their actions fell short of what we know to be their best,” wrote Palfrey.
In his email, Palfrey also detailed the measures Andover took to prevent an event such as this one.
“A few weeks ago, I stood before all 328 graduating students in Cochran Chapel and told them unequivocally not to host or to attend such a party,” wrote Palfrey. “On large screens in the Chapel, as a cautionary tale, I put up a recent newspaper article about a peer school at which a large number of former students were arrested at a graduation party in northern New England. We sent a clear letter to students and families about graduation week, as we do every year; we held follow-up meetings with students and parents to forestall these events. As we now know, for some students, these efforts did not prevent such an event from taking place.”
Tracy Sweet, Director of Academy Communications, said in a press release issued on Monday, “We take this matter seriously and are disappointed in the alleged actions of this group of recent graduates. These actions do not reflect what we know to be the true character of the graduating class.”
“In the weeks and days leading up to Commencement, our Head of School and our deans make proactive efforts to encourage students and families to celebrate responsibly. Given those serious communications, hearing this news is even more disappointing,” continued Sweet.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article was published on Wednesday, June 10. The article was updated on Friday, June 12.