We commend Argyle school board members for approving the use of sobriety tests at future Argyle High School homecoming dances, and we believe it’s time for other districts to consider adopting a similar policy.
Argyle trustees voted eight months ago to approve the use of breath tests at prom, and officials decided to expand the testing after they found a student under the influence of alcohol at the school’s recent homecoming dance.
It’s unfortunate that such measures are necessary, but school officials are justified in using any means available to ensure the welfare of students. Responding so quickly to the situation at this year’s homecoming dance should send a clear message to potential troublemakers.
Attendees at the prom and the homecoming dance will now be required to exhale in the direction of a sensor that tests their breath for the presence of alcohol.
If a student tests positive, he or she will be taken aside to receive a sophisticated “deep-lung breath test” to rule out false positives, such as mouthwash, and positively identify those who have been drinking, officials said. Students testing positive on the second test will be disciplined.
We have no doubt that most students will pass the test with flying colors, but the certainty that tests will be administered should help keep violators where they belong — outside school functions. The tests should also help reassure students who want to play by the rules that they can relax and enjoy events.
To those who think the sobriety tests may be going too far, we’d like to point out that times have changed. Today’s school functions may not always be as safe and secure as you remember them.
Testing students and then following up with proper discipline for offenders sends a strong message. We’re old-fashioned enough to believe that students need — and even want — discipline.
Plus, the tests could also help guarantee that students who break the rules will get the help they need to stop abusing alcohol before it’s too late.
We hope that other school districts will adopt similar policies — and not just for prom and homecoming, but for other school events, as well.
We believe all school districts should be willing to take a tough stance on this issue, and the sooner, the better.