An eye–opening survey of students in Portsmouth is leading to a dramatic change at the high school. Nearly half of the juniors and seniors there admit they use drugs and alcohol. That's why, school officials decided to give breathalyzer tests to students, at random, during school dances.
When students at Portsmouth high school go to their homecoming dance Saturday night, they'll be subject to random breathalyzer tests.
Portsmouth is one of several districts in Rhode Island using breath tests on students. But each district does it differently. West War wick tests every student at each dance, a policy that they say has worked well for them for seven years. Iteration High only tests students if there's reason to believe they're intoxicated.
Superintendent William Redbrick says the tests have worked as a deterrent for years.
Before Portsmouth students can hit the dance floor Saturday night, they'll draw a colored chip from a bag. Depending on the color, they'll be asked to take a breathalyzer test.
The random testing was initiated by the Portsmouth school committee after a survey taken by students showed nearly half of junior and seniors were using drugs and alcohol.
The students don't have to take the test, but if they don't, they won't be allowed in.
If students take the test, and fail, they face two weeks suspension.