Jackson Van Dyke
In hopes to create a safe environment for all Edina High School students attending the 2014 Sweetheart’s dance, a number of new policies were instituted, including increased administration and police presence, and, most notably, random breathalyzer tests. Eighty students were breathalyzed at the dance and none were sent home.
“We’ve noticed a continual trend of increased drinking during the nights of school dances. We want to make sure students are making responsible choices,” explained Police Liason Brian Hubbard.
In order to enter the dance, students were required to agree to submit to a breathalyzer test and if they declined, they would be asked to leave. If a student were to test positive on a breath test, they would be prohibited from attending the following two dances.
Many students believe that this is an effective way of preventing alcohol usage at school functions.
“It’s definitely a good way to keep drinking away from the dance itself because people won’t want to take the chance of being the one that’s randomly selected,” said junior Andreley Bjelland.
Should the new breathalyzing policy go away at dances?
“I would say it’s pretty effective because of the level of punishment… no one wants to miss dances, especially senior prom. Even though it won’t completely stop kids from drinking, it’s a good way to control it,” agreed junior Grace Leifur.
The extra precautions might have been a minor nuisance, but worthwhile in the overall goal to decrease drinking at school activities.
“I wasn’t breathalyzed, but some of my friends were,” said junior Chris Razidlo. “From what I saw, most people turned it into a joke and when someone finished everyone watching just clapped and cheered. Some of them said it was uncomfortable but overall it didn’t seem too bad.”
However, some warn that these tests could lead students to use other substances that won’t be detected by a breathalyzer.
“The only thing that may be seen in the future as a problem is drug usage because if alcohol is too risky, kids might turn to other drugs that can go below the radar,” said junior Claire Little.
“It’s certainly not the only way, but it’s something the school can do…it’s as much a reminder as anything else. We want students to think about the safety of themselves and others,” said Hubbard.
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