Things to expect on prom night:
- Beautiful dresses
- Fancy suits
- Awkward dancing
Prom goers in Prosper can officially add one more thing to expect — a mandatory breathalyzer test.
When Prosper High School students attend prom this Saturday night, they will be administered a breathalyzer test by the Prosper Independent School District police department prior to gaining entrance.
The Prosper ISD sent this email to parents recently, informing them of the new policy:
"Student safety and well-being is our first priority at PHS and PISD including at Prom; therefore, this year, ALL STUDENTS entering prom will be breathalyzed before entering by PISD police. We hope that this will serve as a deterrent to prevent students from partaking in drugs and/or alcohol on prom night. Students who fail the breathalyzer will not be allowed admittance into prom, forfeiting any monies, and their parents will be contacted to come pick them up. They will also be facing severe disciplinary action at school the following Monday up to and including DAEP placement which for Seniors would also include loss of all Senior privileges for the remainder of the year.
“Although this is not a reaction to a particular event, it is the campus’ belief that the benefits of utilizing the breathalyzer at such voluntary events like prom will hopefully provide an additional layer of safety,” a Prosper ISD spokesperson noted in a statement to NBC DFW. “We are very proud of our students at Prosper High School. We are also very committed to providing a safe, fun and enjoyable experience at the prom.”
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Although Prosper ISD is not the first school district to implement mandatory breathalyzer tests for prom, they do not appear to have much company in North Texas – school districts like Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and Frisco all noted in statements to NBC DFW that none of their schools utilize breathalyzers for prom.
The Argyle ISD is the only school district that responded to NBC DFW to say it does require breath tests, both before and after prom for Argyle High School students.
The policy began in 2012 and followed multiple reported incidents of students who either came to or left prom while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to Argyle ISD Police Chief Paul Cairney.
“These are the measures we think every school should consider, because we just have to know that the students come to us completely sober and that they leave us completely sober,” Cairney said.
When asked if the policy has been an effective deterrent for students, Cairney pointed to the number of failed tests that have come in the six proms where they have administered breathalyzers.
“As a matter of fact, not a one since we’ve instituted the program,” Cairney said with a smile. “Part of what we do is make sure that all the students know that those breathalyzers are going to be there. We’re not trying to set them up for failure.”
A Prosper ISD parent, who contacted NBC DFW but wanted to remain anonymous, noted his about the new policy in an email.
“I do not condone drinking or drugs of any kind, however, this is not about the issue of students drinking, it is about the issue of the school and PISD Police using intimidation to attempt to deter behavior, and in doing so, treating all students as if they have already broken the rules,” the parent wrote.