Booze-fuelled high school students swaying to cheesy tunes, hugging incessantly and even vomiting throughout the decorated school gym is something of a rite of passage. But the alcohol-induced haze that can sometimes turn a once-in-a-lifetime special occasion into the sort of cautionary tale featured in after-school specials may bypass some students this year.
Reports emerged this week that one Toronto high school will actually make students take a Breathalyzer test before they gain admittance to the prom. If they fail, they’ll be denied entry. Toronto District School Board officials said several high schools in the city would be using Breathalyzers at their proms as well.
It may seem like an extreme measure, but reports also indicate that binge drinking among young people, including high school students, is a serious problem in Canada and other developed nations.
The Breathalyzer policy is also part of a growing trend as school administrators look for some ways to combat the presence of alcohol at functions such as prom.
Reuters reported that a number of Long Island school districts would administer Breathalyzer tests to students they suspect may be intoxicated.
But the move to test students isn’t being greeted with open arms.
Two students in New Jersey made headlines earlier this month when they refused a breath-test required to enter their prom. They were denied entry and missed the festivities.
One of the students, Sasha Chhabra, told the Times of Trenton that there’s something “really wrong” with assuming students are guilty of committing an offence with no grounds.
The Breathalyzer policies also raise the question of how far schools should be able to go in the pursuit of good behaviour and cracking down on possible rule-breakers.
Are these moves too draconian, or are drastic moves justified in light of underage drinking?