Greenwich officials are scheduled to meet again today to review security and admission procedures at the Arch Street teen center after five high school students were taken from a center dance Saturday night and treated at Greenwich Hospital.
While health privacy regulations prevent officials from defining what the teens—three males and two females—were suffering from, it is appears that the incidents involved alcohol based upon comments from those officials.
"A female arrived and her situation was not right and we had GEMS evaluate," said Arch Street Executive Director Kyle Silver. "Any student that has any conditions that they have been drinking ... if they have a one sip of beer, they have to be transported to the hospital or released to a parent."
Silver, who met with Greenwich Police James Heavey and Arch Street board member Eunice Burnett Tuesday afternoon, said another meeting is scheduled for Wednesday with Greenwich school staff and Board of Education members, and First Selectman Peter Tesei, who also is the town's police commissioner.
'We are trying to figure out how to react to this … teen drinking is not specific to Greenwich, it’s a nationwide issue," Silver said. Silver said the high school dance was sold out event with 400 students attending.
Heavey said, "Any time we respond to a significant event like this…we review our response and discuss so we can prevent future events." After the initial medical call, several on-duty officers were sent to the center, Heavey said.
According to Greenwich Emergency Medical Service Deputy Director Art Romano, between 9:09 and 11:13 p.m. Feb. 23, the five teens were brought to Greenwich Hospital where they were treated and released.
"All had signs and symptoms of an altered state and had medical emergencies to the levels that paramedics decided they had to be treated at the hospital," Romano said. "You can properly say that none had any injuries…no trauma, no fights or assaults…they were medical emergencies not trauma."
Police spokesman Lt. Kraig Gray said the teens "showed signs of alcohol intoxication and it is being followed up by the Special Victims Section to see what we can do to modify behavior."
Selectman Drew Marzullo, a GEMS paramedic supervisor who was not working Saturday night, said, "Teenagers, no matter what you do, are going to drink if that’s what they choose to do. That’s the reality we face." He added, "Do we want to necessarily have students drinking in large quantities in someone’s back yard or on the street or do we want them in a contained environment with help available there."
For more than a year, Arch Street has arranged for a GEMS crew of a paramedic and two emergency technicians to be stationed at the center for large events along with off-duty Greenwich Police officers providing security. Silver said that there was a total of 20 personnel providing security and health screenings on Feb. 23.
Silver said there was one container of alcohol confiscated at the dance. All coats and bags are searched before students are allowed entry and no food or beverages can be brought into the center, Silver also said.
Tesei did not return messages Tuesday seeking comment.