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updated: 5/9/2012 4:57 PM

26 teens ticketed for underage drinking in Naperville

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An underage drinking party the night of Naperville North High School's prom resulted in citations for 26 teens and two parents who hosted the affair and provided the alcohol, authorities said Wednesday.

Michael Bushman and Cathy Bushman, both 47, of the 900 block of Commons Road in Naperville, were cited for hosting the party that began Saturday, April 28, and continued into the early morning hours of Sunday, April 29, Naperville police Sgt. Gregg Bell said.

Teenagers ticketed for consumption of alcohol by a minor included 19 18-year-olds -- 16 from Naperville, two from unincorporated areas near Naperville and one from Woodridge -- as well as seven teens who are younger than 18, Bell said.

Naperville North Principal Kevin Pobst said at least some of the teens also were cited by the school for violating North's co-curricular code. The code governs participation in athletics and extracurricular activities, and violating it can result in suspension from games or events for up to an entire season or calendar year.

None of the Naperville North students who were cited for underage drinking will be suspended or prohibited from graduating because the school's disciplinary code doesn't cover actions outside school walls, Pobst said.

Police originally were called to the 900 block of Commons Road about 2:40 a.m. Sunday, April 29, for a report of criminal damage to property, Bell said. Officers found two mailboxes in the area had been damaged and then went to speak with an adult woman seated inside the front door of a home.

The woman told police she and her husband were hosting a post-prom sleepover party, but some of the teens had left, Bell said.

Officers then began interviewing neighbors, who said they saw one white male teenager damage the mailboxes and watched four or five people in a vehicle leave the area.

Police went back to site of the party and identified the teen accused of damaging the mailboxes, an 18-year-old from Naperville. That teen was among those cited for consumption of alcohol by a minor, Bell said, but did not receive any other tickets for the property damage.

During the investigation, officers learned teenagers had consumed alcohol at the party. A judge will set the penalty -- usually a fine -- for both the teens and the parents.

Before prom, seniors at Naperville North attend assemblies designed to promote good decision-making and to discourage use of alcohol or drugs, Pobst said. The school does not host or sponsor a post-prom event, and this year's dance was scheduled to end at 10:30 p.m.

"We speak to the seniors toward the end of the school year very specifically about inappropriate celebrations, illegal celebrations and not doing that," Pobst said. "Why they shouldn't do that is because it's dangerous to them and to others and because it's illegal."

While the assemblies focus on the dangers and consequences of illegal celebrations, an ongoing element of the school's curriculum addresses the same topics, Pobst said.

Getting parents to partner with the school and reinforce the message of following the law when it comes to alcohol and drugs is another way the school works to discourage illegal partying behavior.

"This is a societal issue," Pobst said about underage drinking. "It's been there for many, many years, which doesn't mean it should be ignored by any stretch of the imagination. It's a very serious issue because it either leads students to harm themselves or puts them at risk for harming other people."

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