Two students die after fall from cliff
Two pupils at the prestigious Leysin American School have died after falling down a cliff. The incident is said to have happened after a party.
The two boarding school students, an 18-year-old American woman and a 17-year-old Moroccan man, disappeared on Friday afternoon.
Police in the canton of Vaud said that the pair were found on Saturday at the foot of a cliff near the town of Leysin on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva.
Officials said at the weekend that both appeared to have drunk alcohol at a student party on Friday and a criminal investigation had been opened to determine the circumstances of their deaths.
Autopsies are being carried out at the university centre of legal medicine in Lausanne to discover if the students’ bodies contain traces of alcohol.
A statement said that police were informed when the students failed to appear at final dormitory check-in on Friday. A vigil was held at the school on Saturday evening and a remembrance service on Sunday.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
Swiss police: US, Moroccan die in cliff fall
(AP) – 2 days ago
GENEVA — Swiss police say an American woman and a Moroccan man attending a prestigious Swiss boarding school have died after falling several hundred feet down a cliff.
Police in the canton of Vaud say the pair were found Saturday at the foot of the cliff by the town of Leysin near the eastern shore of Lake Geneva.
Police say both appeared to have drunk alcohol at a student party Friday and a criminal investigation has been opened to determine the circumstances of their deaths.
The Leysin American School has named the students as Sidonie Fery and Mehdi Berrada.
School chairman Steven Ott said Sunday that both were 19 years old and final year students. He declined to answer further questions citing the police investigation.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
The above articles were published last weekend. So far I have not seen any more updates. There is an age discrepancy between the two articles.
There are probably privacy issues involved that the concerned parents may not wish to have broadcasted…issues beyond drinking alcohol in a steep cliff area of the world.
April 25th, 2010. Posted in General News
On Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 12:20, the Leysin American School was informed by the local Search and Rescue Team, called in by the authorities, of the discovery of the bodies of Sidonie Fery, age 18, and Mehdi Berrada, age 17. They died in a mountain accident after falling off of a cliff below a public picnic area in Leysin after crossing a barbed wire fence.
Below is the ruling on alcohol consumption found in the Leysin handbook.
(A limited privilege, which may be revoked at any time) Seniors, 13th Grade, and Post Graduates with parental permission may earn the privilege of being able to consume limited amounts of alcohol. Privilege will be granted at the Dean’s Reception if students show collective, social responsibility in earning this privilege, and only after the successful completion of an Alcohol Awareness Seminar. The program may be implemented and/or terminated on a year to year basis and without notice. The parameters of the program will be clearly outlined by the Head of School and the Deans. The following guidelines apply:
• Students may only consume alcohol with dinner and/or after 19:00 on Friday and Saturday nights (or during special occasions approved by the Dean of Students)
• Only beer and wine may be consumed. Hard alcohol (spirits) is forbidden • Alcohol must never be consumed on campus, with the exception of chaperoned, school sponsored events. Alcohol must never be consumed in the dormitories • Senior students with or without drinking privilege will be breathalyzed each weekend night. BAC (blood alcohol concentration) must not exceed .05 at any time • Non-chaperoned drinking may only occur in designated establishments • LAS reserves the right to breathalyze students at any time without warning • Breaches in the points above may yield harsh punishments and result in temporary or permanent loss of privileges. Repeated alcohol abuse will lead to referral (mandatory attendance) to alcohol awareness counseling Despite Swiss Law, allowing 16 year olds to purchase and consume beer and/or wine, LAS regulations dictate otherwise. All underclassmen and those seniors without parental authorization “regardless of age” are NOT permitted to purchase or consume any alcohol under any circumstances.
Underclass students are not permitted to drink alcohol under any circumstances. If they, or seniors before drinking permission has been granted, are caught drinking, they will receive an on-campus suspension, followed by withdrawal from LAS for a second offense. After drinking permission has been granted (it has been after winter break in past years) seniors receive a series of consequences that can range from 2 hour check-ins to withdrawal from LAS.
It seems on the surface that LAS has a pretty good control of alcohol consumption concerning their students. However, is it possible to ever control all students at all time when drinking is concerned?
A BAC level of 0.05 involves the consumption of alcohol that depends on the weight, sex, and body fat of the drinker. If you examine the charts, that’s anywhere between less than one and no more than two drinks to achieve that level. At that point impairment includes alertness, judgment, coordination, and concentration. Feelings are experienced as mild euphoria, relaxation, sense of well-being, joyousness, and decreased inhibition. There are very few young men and women who have the maturity to stop at just one or two drinks. They LIKE the behavior changes they feel.
I feel very sad for the administration of this school. Quite often, even though the parents’ social lives center around drinking, they will quickly condemn whomever they wish when it comes to alcohol related events in the lives of their children. The old hypocrisy thing again. The administration will have a fine wire to walk.
The Moroccan parents might be even more upset and chagrined. That society as a whole does not look favorably upon alcohol consumption.
Perhaps it was a case where the students were just friends who wandered too close to the edge of the cliff on their way back to the dorms. Perhaps there is more to the story. Perhaps it is the age-old story of two young people from two very different worlds who realized even in the world today a relationship between the two of them would never be accepted. After all, as seniors they would have parted in less than two months. There are many “perhaps” issues to this story that will probably never be told.
Their parents and friends will be left to grieve. The school will be left “holding the bag” since ultimately, even though they clearly state the rules, they are the ones responsible at all times for the health and well-being of all their students.
There may or may not be lawsuits from the parents. The school may or may not survive this tragedy. A lot of people will have to do a lot of soul-searching to determine how such an incident can ever be prevented from occurring again. Life is not always kind. I wish the best outcome for the staff and faculty of this fine school as possible. Namaste. Attic Annie