Reasonable suspicion

Abbey Painter, web staffer

Prom is a night many students look forward to and prepare for weeks in advance. Students work on finding the perfect date, the perfect dress or tux or the perfect ride. What some students do not realize is that our administrators also prepare for prom, and for those attending prom with questionable sobriety.

When students entered prom, they walked down a line and introduced themselves to Dr. Michael Havener, principal, Mike Wade, associate principal, Ramona Miller, assistant principal, Dr. Michael Gavin, assistant principal and Jeff Townsend, assistant principal. This line was the first time the chaperones met students and their company.

“There are two reasons for the receiving line at the entrance,” Havener said. “One, it is a formal event and students need to practice introducing themselves. The other reason, quite honestly, is that it allows me and the other principals to visually see everyone and see if there are any signs or a type of odor suggesting [students] are under influence.”

According to Havener, the administrators brought breathalyzers for if they had suspicions of underage drinking. He said they did not have a reason to use them this year.

Havener said the breathalyzer process starts with one of the principals approaching a student with honesty about their suspicion. They would give them a chance to admit to being under the influence and face mild consequences, including detentions or in-school suspension, or ask them to blow into the breathalyzer. If they refused the breathalyzer, or the results prove they are under the influence, students could face consequences up to ten days of out-of-school suspension.

“I personally did not see any [alcohol or drunk classmates],” Molly McCormick, senior, said. “But it made me feel safer to be [at prom] and drink the refreshments considering that all of the drinks were individually canned or bottled.”

According to Havener, all drinks were monitored or served by the Ritz staff, and the only open drink was water, served in cups. All of the drinks were free so students did not have to worry about leaving their drinks unattended.

“Fortunately we did not have to use the breathalyzers this year, but in the event that we do, we would take them into a different room and talk to them respectfully,” Haver said. “All the administrators have been trained, so we are certified to give breathalyzers if it comes to that point.”