OCS Superintendent nixes future shot glass handouts

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Onteora Junior Prom shot glass matter has been resolved.
Sort of.
After hearing the opinions of a couple of seniors, some parents and administrators, the Onteora School Board put to rest the subject of seniors being given shot glasses as a gift at the prom last month.
Students Kelsie Johnan and Tara O’Connor, both seniors who graduated this year, were the first to bring the matter up at the school board’s meeting last week in Boiceville.
Each reading from prepared statements, both women complained that they felt the issue was being blown up out of proportion and therefore eclipsed the end-of-year celebrations that seniors traditionally enjoy.
“The shot glasses we received will not make us drink,” O’Connor said.
Johnan added that it was simply a souvenir of the occasion, one that most students would use only as a decoration and not a vessel for alcohol.
But parent Christina Edwards, who was offended when her son “who doesn’t drink and never will,” got a shot glass, disagreed. Edwards, who had with her a printout of the catalogue pages from where the glasses were ordered, said there is no question what the object is.
“It clearly was an alcohol cordial shooter,” she said.
The pages she had showed several varieties under the heading “we carry a large selection of high quality shot glasses.”
Edwards wanted an official apology from the school district to families and students for giving what she said was “an inappropriate gift.”
Trustee Donna Flayhan agreed, noting that giving out alcohol related items has been a tradition. A couple years ago when a prom night car crash killed an Onteora senior, she said, promgoers received beer mugs.
“It’s not like this wasn’t on the radar,” said Flayhan.
Trustee Dan Spencer agreed that giving of shot glasses was offensive, but felt the overriding concern now was making sure it doesn’t happen again.
“We’re talking to the right people,” he said.
Just who those people are, meaning who it was that actually ordered the shot glasses, remains undisclosed, but Board President Osmond noted that it was not something that District Superintendent Dr. Leslie Ford personally approved. In fact, she said, the glasses were purchased not with district finances but from an extracurricular account.
Dr. Ford said that is really the issue. Monitoring of extracurricular accounts, and what they will be used for, will be increased to prevent future mistakes.
Trustee Tony Fletcher said that he believed Dr. Ford and the school’s administration intend to prevent future problems, but felt the plan was lacking detail.
“I’m not clear how we’re going to avoid this in the future,” he said.