Principal Barsotti Declines Comment in Wake of Junior Prom Night Fiasco

Students protest, Barsotti declines comment on Promgate citing a pending investigation that may result in disciplinary action.

The fallout of a decision to prevent 35 student leaders from entering the prom that they planned for Dixon High's Junior class is resonating at the school as the students -- dubbed The 35 -- and their supporters are protesting the decision by wearing their prom attire to school today.

Meanwhile, Principal John Barsotti declined to comment about the incident, noting that an investigation underway into allegations that students brought a mineral/vitamin water bottle containing alcohol onto the bus that they rode to the prom in.

"We are in the middle of an investigation, continuing investigation, from an event on Saturday night during the Dixon High School prom and since we are in the middle of an investigation that may lead to disciplinary action I can't get into the specifics of the event or events while the investigation is still going," Barsotti said.

Students say that they were not drinking alcohol on the bus, and that the school violated a prom contract that stipulated that any student suspected of being under the influence of alcohol woud receive a Breathalyzer exam and have their parents notified.

Here is what some of the students said this morning on the campus of Dixon High School.

Pepe Semeraro: "We rented a party bus to go to the prom Saturday night.  As we were walking off Correy Sorenson found a knock-off vitamin water bottle on the bus so he took it , and as he was walking off the bus driver took it of him sniffed it and said 'This is alcohol.' As that was happening Mr. Barsotti was walking by and then he told us to go sit in a corner and he told us to wait there until someone said who's it was and we obviously didn't know who's it was.  No one saw it at all the whole time on the bus as far as I know."

Katie Smith: "They had us outside of my prom for four hours, we where not really supervised a couple of us walked to the Capitol and back, they didn't really watch us very well.  They didn't listen to us so..."

Katie Jacobs: "and I had to stay outside for four hours as well, and I was unsupervised I walked around the whole all the streets and stuff"

Pepe Semeraro: "They didn't even call for rides or anything"

Katie Jacobs: "They are going to call your parents if you need a ride, and they didn't call our parents."

Pepe Semeraro: "Our bus driver just left and Barsotti left us outside I missed my junior prom." 

Katie Jacobs: "And I paid over $600 dollars for my dress the tickets and everything to go to my prom that I didn't get to go to"  

Cassandra Owens, Class president and AC president elect: "Last Saturday night we missed out on our prom because of a unknown person bringing an found empty bottle of alcohol, I even put on the prom all of my junior class leaders program where on the bus.  We were all kept outside, people even walked to the capitol and back we had enough time to do that unsupervised. and we where denied bathroom privileges until hours into it, they had to escort us into the bathroom and back down one person even snuck into the prom, because they had to go to the bathroom, for like 10 minutes or so, they dances to two songs came right back. It's hard this meant so much to so many people so many sides of it."

We will continue to follow this developing story as we get further information

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brook stiler May 02, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Mrs Dolan, I beg to differ on your husband's "integrity." If he wasn't such a vindictive person, I'd offer you proof, but I don't trust the local politics. They've already done much harm to me and my family.
Jeff May 03, 2012 at 12:10 AM
The administration can posture all they want. In the end they will do whatever they can to do to reduce what this costs them. They have had plenty of time to circle the wagons. So has the limo company. I sincerely hope these really great kids have some serious professional representation or they are going to get pushed aside in the rush toward political and financial expedience. I know some of these amazing kids and they deserve way better then they got and without representation they are going to come out on the short side of this. How many of you really expect the administration to do right by these kids? May suggest someone contact the Pacific Justice Institute to get someone to watch out for the kids rights.
Ian Arnold May 03, 2012 at 05:14 AM
@Carolene - I'm sorry if I offended you. I by no means intended to impugn Brian's integrity. In fact, I was attempting to point out that Brian's integrity could be detrimental in this case. The vast majority of parents, when placed in a position of power, would come down hard on anyone who mistreated their kids. My impression of Superintendent Dolan is that he might be more lenient simply because, as a parent, he's angry but as an administrator he wants to separate himself from that anger. Believe it or not, it was intended as a compliment. Were Brian not the superintendent, it would be easy. He could declare a conflict of interest and allow his boss to make the decision. Since he is the superintendent, he has to wrestle with his conscience and I can absolutely see he has a conscience. I may not have been the first to nominate Brian for the superintendent's job, but I was certainly at the forefront of that movement. Nothing I've seen causes me to believe I backed the wrong horse. Again, any offense I caused was entirely unintentional.
Ian Arnold May 03, 2012 at 05:49 AM
@Dane - I think the problem here was that events moved so quickly. I'm giving the Board President props for putting tonight's public meeting together on such short notice. While I was unable to attend, I'm following the live blog and I'm appalled at the principal's back pedalling. He should have come right out and apologized and admitted he made a mistake. Questions should have been answered with something along the lines of "I have no excuse," instead, I've seen what looks like Barsotti accusing some of the kids of lying while changing his story throughout the evening. The truly sad part is that the School Board has some momentous decisions to make, but the majority of the last few (and probably the next several) meetings will be dedicated to unnecessary drama from the High School. I know that at least 3 of the Board members want to do the right thing, but they're sometimes hamstrung by the rules. The Board can discipline the Superintendent, but not the District's other employees. That would be the easy way out and I don't believe the Board is looking for that. As far as me giving you a hard time the other night, I was in a crappy mood and didn't intend to pick a fight with you.
Ian Arnold May 03, 2012 at 06:17 AM
@ Carrie - Is this from November or is this another instance of Crumpacker saying things he shouldn't? Do you have a timeframe? Any way any of the kids would come forward?


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