Steamboat prom to check breaths

Random Breathalyzer tests to be conducted during, after high school event

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Steamboat Springs High School principal Mike Knezevich is hoping this year's prom will be a night to remember for all the right reasons.

That's why Knezevich, with the support of some parents and students, will issue random Breathalyzer tests at prom and after prom.

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"Honestly, I hope we don't catch one kid," Knezevich said. "The bottom line for me is the kids' safety. If this can be a deterrent to kids drinking, it's a good thing."

Knezevich said he's tossed the idea around before, but decided to do it this year after a group of students approached him with the idea.

"When the kids said we want this, that sealed it for me," he said. "When kids come with the idea, it's pretty powerful."

Knezevich said the school has had Breathalyzers at dances and events before -- and issued them if there was suspicion someone might be drinking -- but said this is the first year they will be done randomly. He said he decided to do Breathalyzers at "after prom" to make sure the school is consistent with its policy of a safe prom.

Another reason Knezevich said they decided to issue random Breathalyzers was to give students who might succumb to peer pressure a reason not to drink.

"This will give those kids a tool to get out of those situations," Knezevich said. "It gives them that excuse to look for."

At both prom and after prom, Knezevich said there would be a separate area away from the event where students will be randomly tested.

While Knezevich said there might be some negative response to the Breathalyzers, the bottom line is making prom a safe and fun experience.

"Catching a kid is a failure,' Knezevich said. "We worry about our kids. We want them to be safe and have a good time at prom."

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