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Principals and administrators at four of the area’s elite high schools whose students and graduates were involved in that wildly destructive house party Dec. 27 deserve credit for attempting to confront what has to be an embarrassing reflection on their institutions.

Letters sent to parents and alumni by school leaders of City Honors School, Canisius High School, Nardin Academy and St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute carried a similar message of disappointment and resolve to assist law enforcement.

City Honors Principal William A. Kresse said 19 current students and seven graduates had been identified so far. He urged parents to contact police if they suspected their child had been involved. Police reported that seven other students were from Nardin, six from Canisius, four from St. Joe’s and three from a Williamsville high school. And that is a snapshot of the partygoers known to have converged on a Parkside home in Buffalo while the owners were out of town.

Steven Binder, his wife, Kristen Segebarth, and daughter, Zoey Binder, 18, had just returned from a dream vacation in Costa Rica only to find the home trashed. Vomit. Feces. Urine. Condoms. A disgusting version of “Animal House” had taken place.

The homeowners had hired their daughter’s friend to watch their cats. Reports indicate the cat sitter may not have been at the house when a friend of a friend invited a slew of young people over. These days, text message blasts and social media can spread the word of a party fast.

The homeowners are trying to get over the feeling of being violated. Precious keepsakes were stolen, along with more than $6,000 in cash and a large quantity of prescription pain medications for Binder, who had recently experienced a prolonged period of lower back pain.

Law enforcement and lawyers – the cat sitter’s family has retained counsel – will sort out the physical mess. The homeowners will have to work out their own feelings. But it is good to see the schools, all of which are supposed to be educating the best of the best students, publicly confront what is clearly a problem.

These educational institutions are known to be among the best for a reason. Not only do they set high goals for academic achievement, they set high citizenship standards. A few students failed that citizenship test miserably.

The trashing of the Parkside home shows the schools have work to do to instill better behavior in their students. But the reaction so far is evidence the schools retain their spirit of excellence and responsibility.