Ottawa-area high school students to be breathalyzed at prom

Students at North Dundas High School in Winchester, Ont., suspected of drinking will have to take a breathalyzer test before entering prom because of the school board's zero-tolerance policy on alcohol consumption.

Upper Canada District School Board has zero-tolerance policy on alcohol consumption

Students at a high school in Winchester, Ont., could be tested for alcohol consumption on their prom night with breathalyzers to enforce the school board’s zero-tolerance policy.

Students at North Dundas District High School suspected of drinking will need to pass breathalyzer tests to attend prom. (Sedalia Democrat, Sydney Brink/Associated Press)
North Dundas District High School has already used breathalyzers on some students suspected of drinking during a dance earlier this year, and plans to do so again on prom night.

The Upper Canada District School Board has a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol consumption, and says it will no longer be turning a blind eye on the issue.

But the breathalyzer enforcement plan was not the school board's idea, according to Greg Pietersma, the board's chair. It was the school's decision after consulting with parents.

The head of the school’s student council, Devon Byers, is worried students might turn to other forms of intoxication that breathalyzers wouldn’t detect.

“I don’t want to see any of them turn to drugs or anything that could potentially ruin the rest of their life just because they feel like they need to consume something before prom and they can’t drink alcohol so they turn to something else,” the Grade 12 student told Ottawa Morning host Hallie Cotnam.

Byers said students at his school were fine with the zero-tolerance policy, but not with the breathalyzers.

“Maybe it’s a little too extreme, maybe we could have gotten a little more warning,” he said.

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