In constitutional lesson, Perham drops breathalyzer prom plan

A Minnesota school has dropped a requirement that prom goers be tested for drinking before being allowed to attend.

The Minnesota American Civil Liberties Union said Perham High School’s requirement is likely unconstitutional and ineffective.

“By requiring breathalyzer tests, the district would be teaching students the wrong civics lesson,” the ACLU’s Chuck Samuelson said in a letter to the school, according to the Perham Focus. “You imply that students are guilty until proven innocent instead of innocent until proven guilty.”

That’s when the school dropped the plan. Instead, students will only be asked to take a breath test if they are behaving in a suspicious manner that suggests they might have been drinking, according to the paper.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Perham-Dent Superintendent Mitch Anderson said the district never intended to make every student line up and take a breathalyzer before being admitted to prom. Rather, local police would have been giving “a preliminary breath test that measures the air around students as they walk in. They were never going to have to blow into a machine.”

A student has never been asked to leave a prom in Perham because of drinking, the school superintendent said.

Last week even an ESPN sports reporter, the date of senior Jack Jablonski, had to take a breathalyzer to get into Benilde-St. Margaret’s prom.

The couple was apparently sober.

It’s a controversy in Eastern Ontario, CTV reports, where the students of North Dundas Senior High School aren’t happy that they’ll have to blow into the machine. It probably didn’t help that authorities used a breathalyzer for surprise spot checks at a dance earlier this year and found about a dozen students were drunk.

  • Ralphy

    At my high school they should have had the parents and staff take a breathalyzer. I’m confident most had been or were drinking. ‘Course, that was almost 50 years ago. That would never be the case now-a-days. ;-/