No Breath Tests for Hilton Head High Prom - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/19/06

No Breath Tests for Hilton Head High Prom

Hilton Head High School Hilton Head High School

After a lot of controversy, Hilton Head High School students won't have to pass Breathalyzer tests to get into prom this year. School administrators were planning to conduct the tests to cut down on underage drinking. But now, the school district has decided against it because of legal issues.

As you might imagine, many students are happy about the news, but other students and many parents are disappointed.

It was the buzz in the hallways at Hilton Head High School today. "I'm excited, because now it's my own choice it's not being forced," said student Blain Anthony.

After problems with underage drinking at last year's prom, school administrators decided to give students attending prom Breathalyzer tests.

Dr. Helen Ryan, the school's principal, told us, "The use of drugs and alcohol is important, and we want to make sure we do as much as we can to prevent it and keep everyone safe."

"Once people found out there were going to be Breathalyzers, they weren't going to go out and do anything stupid, but I know a lot of kids at school were mad," said student Adam Pent.

So why the change? Because the prom is off campus, the school doesn't have the legal right to subject students to the breath test, so district officials had to pull the plug on the idea.

Is there concern students will see this as a green light to drink before coming to prom?

"Maybe a few, but I don't think they're going to take it to the extreme," said Pent.

The school may not be administering Breathalyzers at this year's prom, but it is requiring students and their parents to attend a special prom meeting next week if they want to purchase prom tickets.

"Students are going to do what they're going to do," said Dr. Ryan. "Hopefully our actions are going to bring the discussions of what you're going to do to the forefront, that people who previously had not talked to their child will take a second."

There were a few students who told us they are upset the Breathalyzers aren't going to be used. In fact, one student told us she didn't drink, but a lot of her friends did and she was concerned about their safety and she didn't want them kicked out of prom.

From what we've been hearing from students today, many of them are planning to drink, but are getting limos instead of driving.

School officials tell us those students who decide to drink and are caught will have a ticket home. However, to deter students from drinking, the school is offering an after-prom function, which will last through the early morning.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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