Monitoring BAC ensures student safety

Karina Wang, Staff Writer

It is startling to discover that students around us who are as young as 14 have already begun consuming alcohol. Issues at our homecoming dance have called attention to whether monitoring blood alcohol content (BAC), with a Breathalyzer should be enforced. Despite the controversy of this topic, the answer to this seems quite obvious to me. Why should we not adopt a measure that will help ensure student safety?

Underage drinking has been a nationwide problem for a long time. According to the 2015 Monitoring the Future Survey, 10 percent of 8th graders and 35 percent of 12th graders had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days since they were asked.

It is indisputable that alcohol is a negative influence to high school students. Not only is it illegal, but it is also harmful to our bodies. If not under controlled measures, excessive drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning and impaired body functions. It is vital for students to avoid unhealthy habits at such a young age.

I have heard students voice their concerns that using Breathalyzer wrongfully invades privacy. But schools have always been an exception to certain rules because it prioritizes student safety. But if you think about it, it is minimally invasive. All it does is measure the presence of alcohol, which shouldn’t be a problem because it’s not supposed to be there in the first place. It’s not measuring anything else or diving into personal matters. Discouraging certain behaviors at school functions and preventing dangerous incidents certainly seems like a priority to me.

The role of schools is to promote a safe learning environment and educate students for their futures. Schools have the responsibility of making sure that events have all the necessary regulations to make them both fun and safe. We definitely don’t want a student being sent to the hospital or the police showing up in the middle of a dance.

Alcohol doesn’t make the night more “fun”, it’s an interruption. The lights turn on, the music is stopped and the entire mood of the night is ruined. Monitoring BAC is a step toward eliminating the danger that alcohol poses to students.

Several counties in Connecticut and New York have already started monitoring BAC at school dances. Some schools revoked the policy because of a large amount of controversy, but others found this implementation effective. One student in Connecticut testified that it reduced a peer pressure to drink. It encourages students that they don’t need alcohol in order to have fun.

While this policy can’t solve the problem of drinking outside of school functions, it can certainly make a difference at these social events where alcohol is commonly seen.