Five Fairfax County students were arrested for underage drinking Friday night after a basketball game between crosstown rivals McLean and Langley high schools, according to police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell.
Those charged included students at both McLean and Langley. Four were arrested at McLean High, where the home boys’ varsity team prevailed, 49-45. The fifth student was arrested at a McDonalds in McLean, where police had arrived in response to a report of a fight.
“Some words were exchanged and that sort of thing,” Caldwell said. More than a hundred students had mobbed the fast food restaurant. Police dispersed the crowd within a few minutes.
The incident comes after a spate of news about underage drinking in the Washington area, including Loudoun middle-schoolers caught drunk at school and a Northwest D.C. liquor store allegedly known for selling alcohol to minors.
The Fairfax arrests highlight the need for more education and communication about preventing underage drinking, Caldwell said. “It’s not strictly an enforcement issue, it’s a community issue,” she said.
The most recent Fairfax County Youth Survey, published in 2011, found that approximately 36 percent of seniors and 20 percent of 10th graders had used alcohol within the last 30 days.
Fairfax police, schools and county government agencies are part of the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County, which puts on forum discussions about underage drinking, binge drinking and drug use for parents, teens and other community members. McLean High was the site of one such forum — on the culture of college drinking — in January.
“Our message is that parents need to continue to give very clear messages about family values, family expectations and family consequences,” said Diane Eckert, executive director of the coalition. “The police, as this incident shows, cannot monitor every single party that happens in the community.”