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Schools using random breath tests at events to prevent drinking

Kids have been sneaking alcohol into high school sporting events, dances, graduations and other functions since our grandparents' time -- and probably before that. While many high schools require kids who are suspected of being under the influence to submit to Breathalyzer tests, now there's a growing trend across the country to administer these tests randomly before kids can get into an event.

At one high school homecoming dance, kids had to roll dice at the entrance. Those who rolled a "two" had to go into a separate area and take a breath test administered by police officers. That amounted to just over 3 percent of attendees. Some kids simply volunteered to be tested. None tested positive for alcohol.

Schools use various methods for determining who will be tested, such as drawing something from a bag. Some estimate the anticipated attendance at an event and determine a percentage of that number to randomly test.

Kids who fail the Breathalyzer won't get into the event. They could face discipline from the school, and their parents will be notified. However, they don't face criminal charges. School administrators emphasize that they're doing this for safety reasons -- not to get kids in legal trouble.

One principal says that the prospect of a Breathalyzer will give kids a reason to turn down alcohol and not cave to peer pressure. "[T]hey can say….‘Hey, there's going to be a Breathalyzer. I don't want to take the chance. I'll pass.'"

Schools say that parents have been supportive of the testing. Another principal says that parents "basically said they appreciate us trying to protect their kids."

Of course, kids who are determined to drink will always find a way to do so. However, breath testing at school-supported functions like homecoming, prom and football games can help minimize pre-event drinking that can get kids arrested for DUI and -- more importantly -- help protect their safety.

Source: Toledo Blade, "More schools testing for intoxication at events," Jay Skebba, accessed May 29, 2018

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