Two Massachusetts high school seniors who were photographed smoking victory cigars at their graduation ceremony reportedly have been kicked off the school's lacrosse team and will miss the state championship game Saturday.
The seniors were photographed on the front page of a local newspaper celebrating with their classmates at Beverly High School's graduation ceremony last week, MyFoxBoston.com reported.
School administration officials were notified, though it is not clear how, that two of the seniors pictured are active members on the Panthers’ lacrosse team roster.
While the players are not in violation of a state law, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has a strict, no tolerance drug and alcohol policy for student athletes.
“On the morning of Thursday, June 5 the Beverly High School administration was notified of a possible violation of MIAA policy by two student-athletes,” Beverly High School Principal Sean Gallagher said in a statement Friday, according to MyFoxBoston.com.
“After contacting the MIAA headquarters and consulting with officials there, it was confirmed that the nature of the incident did indeed constitute a violation of MIAA policy. As part of our school and district policy we do not comment on matters related to personnel or student issues,” Gallagher said.
The players were kicked off the team and will miss the Division 2 North state final game Saturday, where the Panthers will face Marblehead High School.
John Donovan, identified as the father of one of the suspended players, told Salem News that his son is “devastated” by the ruling.
“I don’t think it’s applied with the spirit of the rule in mind,” Donovan told the newspaper.
“The spirit of the rule is, we don’t want any student be involved with drugs and alcohol, which I agree with 100 percent,” he said.
“However, the application of the ruling was not in line with the spirit of the rule itself,” he told Salem News, adding that celebratory cigar-smoking "transcends generations and cultures."
A MIAA spokesman told MyFoxBoston.com that it is the school principal’s responsibility to enforce MIAA rules.