To serve well on a local school board requires time, energy and thought. Budgets must be analyzed, financial forecasts assessed, levy decisions made, state mandates discerned and followed -- and that is just part of the job. Add personnel decisions, from hiring a superintendent to overseeing staff reductions, if circumstances take a most difficult turn. All of this takes place in the context of serving the community as a whole and, most notably, the students of the district, putting their interests first.

It is worth recognizing, then, when a school board, in partnership with the superintendent, performs particularly well in a tough situation. That description fits the Revere school board and administration in their decision this week to dismiss the football coaches at the high school for drinking alcohol during an offseason football camp — at which they were responsible for supervising students.

As Matthew Montgomery, the superintendent, explained at the board meeting on Tuesday, the district “cannot permit or condone the consumption of any alcohol by coaches while in charge of students,” such behavior violating both the code of conduct of the state Department of Education and the policy of the Revere board. It doesn’t matter if the coaches are popular or they receive high marks for their work with students. This matter involves a sensible bright line that must not be crossed.

Thus, it doesn’t change things to learn that not much alcohol was consumed or the students were not aware. The district took the appropriate step of conducting an investigation after learning of the incident. The findings reveal the coaches brought alcohol to the dry campus of Heidelberg University in Tiffin, where the camp has held. University officials let the district know about the incident. The coaches admitted they were drinking. Campus surveillance footage captured the episode.

Might there have been room for a more lenient response, suspensions rather than dismissals? Some parents argue the district messed up, for instance, in failing to get board approval for the overnight stay at the camp. Superintendent Montgomery sized up such criticism correctly as not the issue at hand. Rather, this goes to judgment and personal responsibility.

The board members didn’t encourage the drinking. Neither did the superintendent. Nor do they welcome such an incident. As it is, they have an obligation to enforce the clear policy barring the possession or use of alcohol at district-related activities when staff members are in charge of students. It doesn’t take a great leap to see the risk in allowing such activity, or trying to draw a line between tolerable consumption and too much. The coaches had a job that involved, in part, refraining from drinking for the evening.

That isn’t an excessive request, especially in view of what potentially could go wrong, ill serving the students, or why the state and the district set a firm prohibition. What lesson would be left with students in easing the requirement when it is so plain?

Revere is an outstanding school district. Parents are involved and supportive. They have high expectations, as they should. So there was going to be disagreement about the district’s action, confirmed by the shouting match that erupted at the board meeting. What matters here is the quality of the decision-making by the board and the superintendent. They pursued the facts. They applied policy and made the right call. That deserves recognition for reflecting well on Revere and setting a strong example for students.