Should Breathalyzers be used at proms?
With prom season upon us, more and more high schools across the country are turning to Breathalyzers or similar machines to test kids for alcohol consumption before they can enter the dance.
The real question is whether they have the desired effect.
School officials, obviously, see the devices as a way to stop kids from drinking before they come to prom. And at some schools, the students themselves choose to have all prom attendees tested. That’s what the students at Jefferson City High School in Missouri requested for this month’s prom, which was being held at a hotel for the first time.
Some folks say that a message of distrust is sent to kids when everyone is tested before they can dance and have some punch.
That’s what the school board in Bellows Falls, Vermont, decided when members voted against testing students for alcohol at Bellows Falls Union High School’s prom this month--and even banned having a Breathalyzer at the dance, according to the Rutland Herald.
It quoted senior Nadine Rowell of Saxtons River as saying that it was "incredibly insulting" for students to be treated "like criminals" by requiring a breath test at the prom.
Others note, though, that drinking is against the law for minors, and that underage drinking is not only a personal behavior issue but one of public safety when one of these drunken kids gets behind a wheel. Few object to metal detectors or body wands that check for weapons.
The one dissenting vote in Bellows Falls was Stephen Major, who said that while he had questions about whether mass testing of students was constitutional, he thought it was a matter of safety.
But perhaps the real question is whether testing everybody actually stops kids from drinking on prom night.
I’ve been asking dozens of adults and kids, and not one of them said they think it stops kids from drinking who are planning to do so. Do you think they are wrong? What are the schools in your area doing?
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| May 12, 2010; 3:14 PM ET
Categories: High School | Tags: alcohol and proms, breathalyzers at dances, breathalyzers at proms, high school proms, proms and alcohol, should kids be tested for alchol, testing kids for alcohol, testing students for alcohol
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