Two Massachusetts parents and their teenage child are facing criminal charges in connection to a party that sparked coronavirus concerns and led the town’s entire high school to delay in-person learning.
The parents and teen in Sudbury, Massachusetts, were charged with violating the state’s social host law, the Sudbury police chief, Scott Nix, told NBC News on Tuesday morning. Under the law, “whoever furnishes alcohol” to underage drinkers faces a fine of up to $2,000, imprisonment for up to a year, or both.
The adults were charged with the misdemeanor in Framingham District Court and their child in Framingham Juvenile Court, the chief said.
The Sept. 12 gathering drew headlines when the Boston suburb’s board of health announced the next day that police broke up a “large party involving approximately 50-60 Lincoln-Sudbury High School students. ” The board’s press release did not specify if the party was indoors or outdoors.
“The police reported the students were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing,” the release said.
When police arrived at the party, many of the teens either fled to the woods or provided false names to officers.
So, while there were “no known positive COVID cases involving these students at the time of this release,” a lack of information on who attended the event made it impossible to consult with the teens, and “the risk to the school community cannot be adequately assessed,” the board of health said.
“As a result, the Board of Health and Lincoln Sudbury Regional School High School (LSRHS), in consultation with the school physician, collectively decided to delay in-person learning,” the town explained.
The high school was supposed to open Sept. 15 with a combination of in-person classes and virtual learning. But after the news of the party, it went all-remote for the following 14 days.
Lincoln-Sudbury Superintendent Bella Wong told families she was “profoundly disappointed at this sudden change of plans,” according to NBC Boston.