Whitney Young Championship Overshadowed by Arrests

Dozens of teens cited for drinking under age

The Whitney Young Dolphins are the new Illinois High School Basketball Association’s Class 4A boys state basketball champion.

The school is also often lauded for having the city's brightest and best students, including graduating First Lady Michelle Obama.

But on Monday morning, the headlines aren't about the school's accomplishments or their championship victory game. Instead, Whitney Young students made headlines with dozens of underage drinking citations, issued at a Peoria-area motel over the weekend.

Dozens of teenagers were arrested in a motel just hours after the boys basketball team won a semifinal game Friday in the Illinois Class 4A tournament in Peoria. The team went on later Saturday to win the Class 4A championship.

It did not appear that any players from the team were cited.

Chicago Public Schools officials are questioning an Illinois State Police statement indicating that the teens were all Whitney Young students.  A CPS spokeswoman said that officials had yet to confirm if those arrested, a few of whom had addresses outside Chicago, were CPS students.

According to a police statement, troopers responded to a report of an underage drinking party at a Super 8 motel about 2 a.m. Saturday and 27 arrestees -- including four juveniles -- were from Chicago, except three who hailed from Oak Lawn, Morton Grove and Hanover Park.

Chicago Public School spokeswoman Monique Bond said in an e-mail that students must list a Chicago address to attend CPS schools and officials would have to check the enrollment database to confirm that those arrested were students.

"Any allegations that Whitney Young students may have been involved in inappropriate behavior will need further investigation," she continued. "Until we are able to confirm if CPS students were involved, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time. The matter remains under internal review and the appropriate actions will be taken as needed."

One of teens, Miguel Martinez, 17, of Chicago, was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and is being held in the Tazewell County Jail pending a bond hearing.

State police say that, in all, they cited 83 kids for underage drinking following several parties in the Peoria area after the first day of the high school state basketball tournament.

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