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Schools discipline students after underage party

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Schools discipline students after underage party
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Disciplinary action is something every school district deals with. Whether it's bad behavior in the classroom or off school grounds, school officials say it's necessary to teach students valuable lessons. And in Herkimer County, our Cara Thomas reports that two school districts are doing just that.

HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Disciplinary action is being taken at two school districts in Herkimer County after officials were told about an underage party where alcohol was allegedly involved.

Gary Tutty, Herkimer School District's Interim Superintendent ,said, "On Friday, we were informed that there had been a party in Ilion and that many Ilion students were involved, but that during the questioning, they realized there could have been students from other school districts involved."

So officials from Ilion and Herkimer school districts gave the students the opportunity to come forward, admitting to the rules they broke. And so far, more than 20 students at the Ilion School District and a handful of students at Herkimer have done that.

Ilion's School Superintendent, Cosimo Tangorra, said, "Our young men and women have taken responsibility for their actions and as a result, it's over in Ilion."

Many of the students involved were athletes and officials say punishments were necessary. Punishments that not only affected the individuals, but their entire teams. One game was forfeited for the football, men's and women's soccer and field hockey teams.

"We are dealing with a disciplinary issue like we do every single day and schools across the state and across the nation handle disciplinary issues every day," said Superintendent Tangorra.

School superintendents say this situation hasn't been fun for anyone. But in the end, they hope students not only learned a lesson about following the rules, but a lesson about safety as well.

Tutty said, "We try to explain to them, it's not the punishment that's the basic thing, it's this idea that we don't want you to make the kind of decisions that could put yourself in danger."

"Going forward, that's all we can hope for is that folks think a little better, are more aware of their surroundings and use the lessons that they've learned to help them be safer as they move through high school and in life," said Tangorra.

School officials assure the public that all sports teams will be able to continue on with the rest of their season.

Herkimer School District officials say they are currently in the process of deciding how greatly the students will be punished. The athletic director will go before an infraction committee where they will make the disciplinary decision over the next few days.

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