Address drinking at the root

Breathalyzer tests aren’t the solution to impeding prom drunkenness.

A pair of students in Toronto recently took their high school — Northern Secondary School — to court after the school attempted to make breathalyzer tests mandatory for all students attending prom.

The duo won the case earlier this week, as an Ontario judge ruled that requiring students to take breathalyzer tests went against their constitutional rights.

The ruling was correct, but even if mandatory breathalyzer tests were ruled to be a legitimate measure, they would have done little to address the issue of underage drinking, as there’s a strong culture of after-prom partying and drinking among high school students.

Schools promoting alcohol education — outlining the dangers of drunk driving and how drunk behaviour can ruin experiences for others — is a proactive solution that would see much better results.

While breathalyzers are a breach of constitutional rights, the school’s efforts to restrict alcohol consumption at a school-sanctioned event is understandable, as they could be held liable for events they’re unable to prevent.

Many parents have placed pressure on Northern and other high schools to guarantee their child’s safety. While the school is obligated to ensure student safety, there’s a point when parents need to take responsibility for their children’s behaviour, and warn them of the potential dangers of indulging in alcohol.

Journal Editorial Board


Alcohol, breathalyzer, Northern

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