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Should Chariho school official step down?

October 27, 2011

Chariho School Committee member Terri Serra has not said whether she will step down, following her arrest and charges for allowing teenagers to consume alcohol on her property.

Police say Serra knew that a group of high school students from Chariho and Westerly had gathered in a trailer behind her home. She claims she left them for several hours while watching a movie, and when she came back, police say the smell of alcohol was in the air and drinks had spilled on the trailer floor.

At that point, Serra allegedly asked the teenagers to leave, but Richmond Police Chief Elwood Johnson says his officers believed they had enough to charge Serra with a misdemeanor under Rhode Island’s social host statute.

“You don’t have to furnish alcohol, you don’t have to make a loud proclamation that this is condoned,” Ellwood explained. “If your actions or your words would leave a reasonable person to believe that you know what is going on and you allow it to continue, you violate the social host law.”

Four of the teenage boys who attended the gathering on Serra’s property were later involved in a serious car accident.  As of yesterday two were still facing serious injuries at Rhode Island Hospital.

School officials say there have been conversations about whether Serra will remain on the school board. Serra has not responded to RIPR’s request for comment.

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