Violation Of Their Rights ? High Schools Using Breathalyzers To Fight Teen Drinking


    High schools are rushing to test students for alcohol at extracurricular events like dances and football games.
    "It's increased dramatically," says Bill Judge, an Illinois attorney who advises high schools on testing. He says thousands are doing it.
    High school orders for breathalyzers have risen 120% in each of the past four years, says Keith Nothacker, president of KHN Solutions, which sells the machines.
    "We get a lot of orders from principals before proms," says Charles Lee of AK Solutions USA, a New Jersey importer of the devices. He says sales to schools have doubled in each of the past three years. Both men decline to reveal sales numbers.
    Increased sales come as lawmakers and educators are cracking down on youth drinking with hotlines, awareness classes, tougher penalties for adults who give teens alcohol and more college classes on Fridays to reduce "Thirsty Thursday" partying.

    The office of the U.S. surgeon general issued its first "call to action" on underage drinking in March. With 11 million underage drinkers, it says, alcohol is "the most heavily abused substance by America's youth."
    Last month, the University of Wisconsin-Madison began a "show and blow" policy at football games. Any student ejected from a previous game for drinking must take a test to attend. "We're trying to change the culture," says Ervin Cox, assistant dean of students.
    Some high schools test every student at extracurricular events, but others test randomly or only if they suspect drinking. If a student fails, some call parents or police, and some suspend the student.
    High schools use breathalyzers because the technology has improved, says Larrie Reynolds, superintendent of Pequannock Township schools in New Jersey. He plans to begin using them at dances and on senior trips.
    Many school machines are the size of cellphones and cost $80 to $200. Tests take seconds.

    Schools might violate rights if they test without "reasonable suspicion," says Ben Stone of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. He says schools "increasingly dismiss"those rights.
    Students at Carmel High School in Carmel, Ind., are told they will be tested and so far none has failed, says its principal, John Williams. Carmel expanded its testing from dances to football games last month.
    Some students say testing violates their rights and means the school doesn't trust them, says Dan Frascella, 17, Carmel's student body president. "I'm OK with it," he says. "It makes for a safer environment
  2. Seems to me, that Schools that have opted for the Breathalyzers have the students best interest at hand.
  3. Schools can already search lockers, backpacks, and cars without warrants so there probably won't be a problem with this.
  4. i wouldn't have a problem with the breathalyzers at high school, or even junior high...if there was a probable cause for use
  5. That is so true, but it doesn't seem very ethical at least to me. I hope my school dosen't begin doing breathalyzer tests, because it is a violation of rights. I have seen kids come to class drunk and high and the teachers do nothing though ,so my school probably just doesn't care. It doesn't seem right that they would be allowed to give the test because even if you are pulled over and the cop thinks you are drunk you do not have to submit to a breathalyzer test. It just seems incredibly stupid for schools to force students to take the test prior to admission to a school event.
  6. I hate who people can find issues with things which look intrusive but are actually for the best interest of the people. People have nothing to worry abotu if they're innocent :yes: I'm for it.
  7. Bloody good idea!
  8. Wonderful Idea:idea: When I was in H.S there was so many kids that would come to class drunk. This does not violate there rights, the schools have a right to help the kids at there best interest.
  9. IN most states, if not all, You do have to submit to a breath test or you are automatically charged with drunk driving.
    You have no rights in your school. It is state property & what they say goes. I think its a great idea in order to get into a school event you must pass a sobriety test. I have seen/heard of too many young people dying cause of drugs or alcohol. It has been proven scientifically that they aren't capable of understanding the consequences of their actions long term. This is in their best interest.
  10. back in the old days (80s')

    nobody would have been admitted to a school event, we were all drunk for football games and dances.

    don't tell my kids!

    i support the use of breathalizers, now that i know could save lives
  11. OK first of all, what "rights" are you referring to? I believe the legal drinking age is 21. A person who is younger than that does not have a "right" to drink. Secondly, if you are pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving and refuse to take a breathalyzer, do you think the cop just says "Ok then, never mind?" NO. They take you to jail.

    What is "incredibly stupid" is teenagers drinking and driving. Any effort to curtail this often-fatal activity is not stupid at all. I sincerely hope that you and all your friends make it through high school without any drinking-related tragedies and that you develop a somewhat more mature attitude about under-age drinking and the laws in place to attempt to control it.
  12. at the highschools around where i live, for the homecoming dance, they had breathalizers. they only gave it to you if they suspected that you were drunk.i think that it is okay that they are doing it.
  13. I'm just glad i'm out of HS for a loooonngg time now.

    What fun if dance events are w/o alcohol?
  14. I agree wholeheartedly. I get so sick of poeple talking about violation of rights when it is obvious that this is something that will HELP people. Sometimes the ACLU can be a little irritating.
  15. I am very much for it. I think it's a great idea, and it is truly in the best interest of the students. As long as there is a good reason to test a student, it's a great plan.