Students in this northern Minnesota town will be tested for alcohol before being admitted to the prom this year, and some drug-prevention experts say that goes too far.
But many of the students, teachers and prom planners at Pine River-Backus High School say they support the tests."We're saying that we care enough to help you say no," said Kristen Groth, a prom adviser and first-year teacher at Pine River-Backus, a public school. "If we give one kid one way out, it'll be a help. `Just say no' is a wonderful concept, but it's very tough to practice."
Students who arrive for the April 20 prom must submit to breath tests. Anyone who fails must wait while their parents are called to come and take them home.
"I don't like it," said Pam Canning, chemical health specialist for schools in St. Louis Park, a Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb. "I think it's very invasive, and I don't think it's necessary."
"I'm not sure that things are at such a low point that we need to test students before they do an activity," said Peter Stenson, a drug education official with the Rochester schools in southeast Minnesota.
No one on the school's prom planning committee opposed the action, and polls have shown a majority of Pine River-Backus students support it. But Student Council President Mark Johnson expressed reservations.
"I know it's for a good cause, but I don't like it," he said. "It's almost like people don't trust you."