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New Canaan High Puts Vandalism in the Past

Jay Egan is not expecting to hear anything about red paint on the Darien High School campus in the next few days.

Nearly a year has passed since an ugly vandalism incident at New Canaan High School overshadowed the annual Turkey Bowl football game against rival Darien High. Egan, New Canaan’s athletics director, does not expect a repeat of that incident leading up to this year’s contest.

“I’m not concerned about (our students) retaliating,” said Egan. “Both school communities and kids see it as something senseless and in bad taste. It’s behind us, and we have a healthy rivalry.”

New Canaan police arrested five Darien football players last year after they traveled to the New Canaan High campus in the early hours of Nov. 24, 2010, and spray-painted several areas with oil-based blue paint. The five were not allowed to play in last year’s game, a 42-14 New Canaan victory, and had to make restitution to New Canaan for the damages. The students’ names were not made public because they were youthful offenders.

The incident remains fresh in the mind of many at Darien High School. Senior David Young said, “Gosh, has it been a year already? It seems like only a few months ago. That was really an embarrassing blunder for Darien. Not just for us here at the high school, but for the entire community. People will be talking about that for a long time, and that’s not something any of us want.”

“That was crazy,” said senior Sarah Terhune. “Firstly, it was so embarrassing. Everyone at the school felt the brunt of all that negative attention. I just wish that kids who vandalized thought of that.”

Terhune said some of the media coverage may have been blown the vandalism out of proportion. “All the newspapers and local news shows were having a field day. While I acknowledge it was a newsworthy event, I think that in retrospect it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was just a group of kids who made a stupid decision.”

Darien High principal Dan Haron said last week that he and other school administrators haven’t had to talk with the students, and he doesn’t anticipate New Canaan students will try to tag his campus. The vandalism last year was done by people who did not represent the football team or the Darien High student body and is “not something we’re proud of,” he said.

New Canaan High principal Bryan Luizzi, who is new to the job this school year, said both districts handled the matter appropriately, and he’s not worried about a repeat incident in either town. Though security on campus will be enforced before the game, Luizzi said he and other administrators have not talked with students about their behavior leading into the game.

“Students who go too far in what they’re doing will be held accountable,” Luizzi said.  “The greatest thing about the rivalry is what happens on the field.”

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