Breathalyzers at Prom

Alissa Perkins, Reporter

Last year, Rock Bridge High School introduced a new policy in an effort to minimize underage drinking at the biggest dance of the year, prom. According to a Kansas City Star article, students showed up to the event inebriated and Rock Bridge’s student council decided that breathalyzers would minimize student drinking.

On April 28, 2018 Rock Bridge breathalyzed every single student who showed up for prom, making sure they didn’t have a .02 alcohol-blood content (BAC) or higher. If a student’s BAC was greater, their parents would be notified and would be sent home. Kansas City Star said this policy was designed so that no student was singled out or humiliated, as well as making sure nobody would show up to prom drunk. School officials said the police would not be notified if students were intoxicated.

Rock Bridge advertised the policy on tickets and letters were sent home to parents. Hickman and Battle didn’t breathalyze every student, however, both schools stated that they would breathalyze any student showing signs of intoxication and had breathalyzers on hand.

Dr. Kim Presko and the administrative team made the decision to have a breathalyzer on site this year only to use if necessary. Presko said, “We will only use the breathalyzers if we see a need. We monitor the behavior of students before, during and when leaving. We always want to make sure everyone is safe. We do check pockets and bags as students enter like we do at every dance.”

The purpose of having a breathalyzer on site comes down to the safety of students at the event and community members on the road. Presko said, “We would never want to allow a student to leave an event and drive a car if they are under the influence.  I think that is the most important aspect of why we have this on site.”

Just like Rock Bridge, if a student is caught under the influence at Battle’s prom, consequences will be executed. Presko listed some that included suspension, calls to the parents, and seniors could lose the opportunity to walk at graduation or any other extra senior privileges.

Senior Ian Graves attended the dance and thought the administration’s decision seemed fair, “I think it’s good to have it on stand by, especially if someone is acting suspicious [so] they can be taken home safely and not out in public while under the influence. I do not think that everyone should have to do it though.”

Senior Tanner Jackson doesn’t quite agree with breathalyzing students at the event, “I think administration is overreacting, I don’t think kids are that irresponsible to show up drunk to a school dance.” He said.

Battle did not follow the same policy as Rock Bridge at this year’s prom and are planning to only keep a breathalyzer on site in prom events in the future. Since Battle administration hasn’t had big problems with intoxicated students, the situation isn’t urgent enough to breathalyze every single student.

Stickers are on the back of each prom ticket stating, “For the safety of BHS students, a breathalyzer will be available for use at prom, if needed.”