Terrell middle school bans open containers after reported alcohol use

A North Texas middle school is changing its policy regarding drinks on campus because too many students were caught drinking alcohol on school grounds.

Effective immediately, Terrell ISD officials say students at Herman Furlough Jr Middle School cannot bring open water bottles, cups or other containers to school. Any sealed beverages they do bring can only be drank at lunchtime.

The district isn’t saying how many students have been busted with alcohol on campus, but it’s enough of a problem for the principal to implement a new policy.

Jennifer Dillman is angered by what her son told her.

“My child had come home and talked to me about what he had seen and what had been going on,” she said.

The sixth grader says he witnessed a fellow classmate drinking alcohol out of a water bottle before gym class.

“I taught him if you see something that you know is not right to speak up and open your mouth,” Dillman said. “Don’t be afraid to say something.”

And her son did. The on-campus alcohol issue prompted the school principal to take swift action.

On Wednesday, parents were notified by letter that "there have been several recent issues with students bringing alcohol on campus in open containers." It added that until further notice, “students will not be allowed to bring open bottles, cans, cups, or containers on campus."

“It does concern me as a parent, but I do think they've got it under control,” said parent Dominga Sanchez.

The letter says students can still bring sealed beverages to school but can only open and drink them during lunch.

“It has its goods and bads because I have children who attend sports, and they should be allowed to bring drinks,” Sanchez said.

A district spokeswoman says water will be provided at athletic practices that are held outdoors. Students can also use water fountains on campus.

Sanchez and Dillman say they support the principal's decision.

In the letter, the principal says he has zero tolerance for the behavior and says students caught drinking alcohol will be disciplined and reported to Terrell ISD police for possible criminal charges.