Seven students from Fairfield College Preparatory School were taken into police custody Friday, Feb. 3, after staff at the Darien Depot discovered they had been drinking at a freshmen/sophomore dance.

Janice Marzano, program director for the Depot, said the students learned about the dance from one of their cousins and took the train to Darien. As the students were walking across the parking lot Marzano saw one of them throw a water bottle on the ground and when she went to speak with them she could smell alcohol.

"None of the kids were from Darien and they didn't get through the door because you have to get past two cops," Marzano said. "They had been drinking but they weren't drunk. One kid did throw up on the front steps."

The Depot, which employs two police officers at their events at a cost of $500 each, doesn't use breathalyzers on students. Instead, the police officers check students eyes with a flashlight to determine if they had been drinking or using other substances, Marzano said.

"If we suspect someone has been drinking we will send them home," she said.

Kelly Lesko, co-president of the Depot advisory board, said one of the problems the Depot has been battling is having a reputation as being a place where kids can go to drink.

"I don't know where the rumors are coming from but we do not allow any drinking at the Depot," Lesko said. "The Depot offers so many wonderful programs and opportunities and I would have never gotten involved if drinking was allowed."

Marzano said the rumors about the Depot have been around for as long as the organization has existed but wasn't sure exactly where the rumors were coming from.

"If it's a kid on a sports team who gets caught the first thing they will ask me is `are you going to tell my coach.'" Marzano said. "I tell them I'm not the one who signed the commitment, they did. I'm just sending them home. Then when the parent learns their kid was sent home for drinking it turns into a situation where they will tell people everyone was drinking."

In the case of the seven students from Fairfield College Prepatory School, no charges were filed. Marzano said Depot staff members contact parents to pick up their children if there is an issue, but there is no need to file any charges.

"What would we charge them with?" she asked.

A call to Youth Detective Mark Cappelli was not immediately returned as of press time.

"We do the best we can and we really don't have a drinking problem here," Marzano said.

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