Students Subject to Alcohol Breath Tests at Prom


School administrators will have access to two of these breathalyzer devices at prom. | Photo by Emily Goldberg

Emily Goldberg ‘12
Web News Editor 

School administrators will have access to two of these breathalyzer devices at prom. | Photo by Emily Goldberg

A device small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet powerful enough to prove one’s guilt of a crime, will be at junior and senior prom. This device, one that many teens fear, is the breathalyzer.


Despite the events of this year’s homecoming, both the junior and senior proms will run with no additional rules and regulations. Breathalyzers are not new to Staples’ proms. They have been used for the past 10 years according to Principal John Dodig.  

However Dodig was proud to report he has only had to administer breathalyzer tests at a Staples prom twice in the past six years.  

“ The history of prom [at Staples] is not terrible. We may use them on one, two, or three students, but not half of the people there,” Dodig said.  

Administrators will operate the two breathalyzers that the school has. Any student is subject to being asked to take the test, if they are demonstrating “suspicious” behavior. Dodig defined this behavior as being excessively clumsy, slurring words, having dilated eyes, and smelling of alcohol.  

“All adults know the smell, and that alone can be good enough,” Dodig said.  

Other reasons administrators may choose to ask a student to take a breath test are if they are draw excessive amount of attention to themselves or, if they are in part of the venue where they should not be.  

“We use them to establish innocence,” Dodig said, “We don’t go looking for trouble, we only use them if trouble falls in our face.”  

If a student is asked to take a breath test and is found guilty, their parents will be notified to come pick them up. If asked to take a breath test and a student refuses, they are automatically assumed guilty and must be picked up by a parent as well. The punishments listed in the school and athletic handbooks will also apply.  

It is required that students supply a parent’s phone number with their prom contract. The “tricky part,” Dodig said, is when parents do not show up to pick up students who are found guilty of consuming alcohol. If a parent does not show up by a certain time, the student will be sent to the hospital.  

“The reason we use the breathalyzers is because we want you to be safe, and there are other people out as well. The number of intoxicated people is higher now than other times of the year with proms going on all over,” Dodig said.  

Dodig reports that he would never put a mandatory policy in place to have every student breathalyzed before entering prom, as other high schools like Ridgefield require.  

“If that’s what we had to do to run prom, I’d be out of the prom business,” Dodig said, adding that he would sooner cancel prom entirely, than see this happen at Staples.  

Last Thursday, May 6, Dodig met with the senior class to establish prom expectations and regulations, and will also do so for the senior class as their prom approaches.