Derby HS Tackles Underage Drinking With New Sobriety Test

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Sept. 11, 2013

Derby High School is cracking down on underage drinking.

Starting last week, the school district initiated a new policy: if a student appears to be intoxicated at a school-sponsored event, the student will undergo a mandatory sobriety test.

"With drinking, sometimes bad things can happen," said DHS principal Tim Hamblin. "The consequences can be life-altering or the tragic loss of life."

Hamblin said the district purchased two AlcoBlow devices as a preventative measure. AlcoBlow is an alcohol tester that measures the amount of alcohol in the air around a person. They do not have to blow directly into the device, like one would with a Breathalyzer device, which measures a person's blood alcohol content.

"I think it's probably a good idea," said Jack Ralson of Andover. "It'll keep underage people from drinking at school events and getting themselves in trouble before their life has even started."

"I think people will drink any way," retorted Richard Gould of Douglas. "If they don't go to school functions, they'll just go to someone's house and just drink that way."

The district started using the AlcoBlow at last week's high school football game. No student was punished, but Hamblin said there is protocol.

If a student is suspected of being intoxicated, the student will be taken to a private area for testing. At least two school officials will be there to administer the test.

Each device costs $175 -- an investment Hamblin said is worth every penny.

"I make no apologies for just simply trying to have some technology or any tool that we could possibly have to keep kids safe," he said.

If a student is caught intoxicated at a school function, Hamblin said they will face a potential suspension and will be turned over to police for other potential charges.

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