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Principal wants breathalyzers at school dances

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LAFAYETTE – A Central Indiana high school principal wants his students to pass a breathalyzer test before they enter any school dances.

Mark Preston is the principal at Jefferson High School in Lafayette. While he hasn’t seen any incidents of students coming to dances under the influence, he has had some students complain that their peers are. He knows it is an unfortunate reality.

“It happens,” said Preston.

That’s why he wants the school board to allow him to buy and administer breathalyzers at every JHS dance.

“Students would come in, provide their tickets, and then administrators would be there, and they will have been trained on how to administer the Portable Breathalyzer Test which is basically a box with a straw that sticks out of it,” he explained. “A student grabs a straw, puts it into the PBT and blows into it, and an administrator can see if they register or not.”
If the student does register, administrators would then call police and the child’s parents. Law enforcement officials would make the final determination as to whether or not the minor is actually under the influence.
Preston said breathalyzers are starting to be used by schools across central Indiana. His former employer, Zionsville High School, uses them and Preston said he never saw anyone test positive while he supervised dances there.
The school would pay for the machines with money it makes from vending machines. The school board will hold a public hearing and have a final vote on the matter on May 12.
Preston hopes parents and students alike will support the idea.
“If it keeps kids from (drinking), that’s important. And if we can do it to ensure that our kids are safe at school dances, then it all makes sense in my eyes to do it.”