Friday, January 4, 2008

A good idea

Good for them. A common-sense approach that is unfortunately needed and good for the parents who support this program.

Someone will undoubtedly protest when their child is found to be intoxicated.

Pequannock Ratchets Up Alcohol Zero-Tolerance Policy

PEQUANNOCK TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) ― When it comes to keeping our teenagers safe and sober, one New Jersey school district is taking the lead by employing the use of a Breathalyzer test.And as CBS 2 HD found out, it's become such a successful deterrent, students are passing with flying colors. Keeping high school students sober can be, in some situations, a full time job.

"I personally got Breathalyzed," said student Jessica Forrest. At Pequannock High School. Getting checked for alcohol is now the rule at dances and other social events. "I'm all for it because if your child isn't doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to hide," parent Barbara Fede said.

Pequannock School District superintendent Dr. Larrie Reynolds said some students' recent behavior left the district no choice. "It actually came to a head when last year at the graduation senior trip, that we had students who actually couldn't graduate as a result of their drinking," school board member Dr. Larrie Reynolds said.

Pequannock also has an active Breathalyzer test, similar to what would be used during a police traffic stop. It's a little more intrusive, but administrators believe it sends a clear message about their zero-tolerance policy on alcohol abuse.

So far it has worked, and now other districts are following Pequannock's lead. In fact, Southington High School in Connecticut expanded the program for daily use when a student is suspected of drinking.

"In the world of high school students, any alcohol rating is a reading that is inappropriate," Superintendent Joseph Mirardi said. Pequannock school officials say because their limited Breathalyzer use has been so effective, they aren't willing to take the program that far just yet.

"We'll leave that for somebody else to decide," Reynolds said. "We're really not going into that area." However frequently it's used. "I don't think people will like, drink anymore," Pequannock student Erika Vecchiet said.

It seems the Breathalyzer has at least cleared the air about who is -- and who is not -- welcome at school.Pequannock school officials say they avoided running into any privacy issues by making students sign a contract which states they must submit to a Breathalyzer if they want to attend a school social event.