Any Highlands Ranch High School student thinking about pre-gaming before heading to Saturday night’s Homecoming dance should think twice. The school will be doing breathalyzer tests on all students before they can gain entry, and those who score a positive for alcohol use will be tested again — this time by a member of law enforcement.
Read on to see how Highlands Ranch High Principal Jerry Goings says reasons behind the new policy are sound and why he doesn’t believe it will lead down a slippery slope.
The Breathalyzer plan was shared earlier this week in a letter to parents. We’ve included it below, but an excerpt reads: “Underage drinking is illegal, disruptive to school events, and we are fearful that at some point it could impact safety of all students who attend a dance. While we believe that the problem is limited in scope, and that the vast majority of HRHS students do not engage in this behavior, we have decided to administer a passive breathalyzer test to every student who attends future dances at HRHS.”
According to Goings, no single incident led to the new approach. Rather, he says, “it was more a general level of concern. But at our prom last year, we had a couple of incidents where we were really concerned for safety.” Then, as the school year got underway, he notes that “we started hearing rumors about party buses. And so we said, ‘We’ve got to do something now.'”
The new procedure wasn’t as tricky to pull off as it might have initially seemed because another local high school, Mountain Vista, has been conducting breathalyzer tests at school dances for the past several years. Moreover, the administration there had all the equipment and is loaning it to HRHS.
More at the Denver Westword.