Recently at Longmeadow High School it became mandatory to pass an "alcohol-screening test" before entering a school dance. This breathalyzer will detect alcohol on one's breath. No student that has been drinking will be admitted to the event. Longmeadow High School has recently purchased breathalyzers which teacher chaperones administer to all students entering a school function. This issue has brought about much conflict. Many people see it as a positive thing; however, the breathalyzer at school dances should be eliminated.

A dance is a sage, chaperoned place for students to hang out but the breathalyzer is turning many away from attending these dances. Many students feel as if the breathalyzer is an invasion of their privacy and reject the idea completely. Many parents favor it because they do not want their children drinking at all. The breathalyzer should be eliminated because it drives kids to more dangerous situation, it leads to an increased usage of other drugs and it decreases school spirit and profit. Residents of the town of Longmeadow are very aware that "Longmeadow teens are outperforming teens nationwide" in their consumption of alcohol. Committees have been formed within the community to eliminate the under-aged drinking problem.

Many students interviewed at Longmeadow high school say that once they have adapted to a "party lifestyle", or a lifestyle when one drinks every weekend or more, a breathalyzer is not going to end that habit. A school dance could be a fun place to meet with friends to socialize, hang out and dace, but many people feel that they cannot enjoy themselves as much with out drinking. One LHS student says " I'd have more fun at a house party drinking that I would at an alcohol-free school function". This idea may not be morally or legally correct, but it keeps many students from attending school dances. This is where the problem with the breathalyzer begins. Kids who want to drink will go to unsupervised environments rather than to a place where there are adults who could handle a serious situation should one ever occur.

It is not legal for kids to drink because they are not capable of dealing with serious situations. The problem of stopping kids from drinking in Longmeadow is much too large for anyone to deal with, but drunken kids should have a safe place to go where they can be watched over. Students who choose not to attend the dance because of the breathalyzer instead will invade a person's house for a party, or will drive around drinking. Drunken kids are careless so it does not take them too long to trash a family's home during a party when the parents are only out for the evening. Drunk Driving is one of the leading causes of death in our nation. These situations are very dangerous and if kids felt more comfortable at chaperoned functions, which they would if there wasn't a breathalyzer, then they would stay out of much more trouble and have someone responsible to go to for help if needed.

Many kids are self-conscious about their appearance of dancing abilities. One LHS student says "drinking helps me to relax more at dances to have a good time so I don't have to worry about how I look or act. Some students really enjoy daces and feel like they have much more fun when they are intoxicated. The breathalyzer only screens for alcohol and most students are aware of that. Therefore, many turn to other types of drugs to increase their enjoyment at school dances. Kids who usually just drink will turn to drugs, such as marijuana, which in the future could increase their dependence on other illegal substances.

The breathalyzer will create a whole new substance abuse problem among the children in the town of Longmeadow. Some students just won't attend the dance at all due to the breathalyzer. Dances tend to be a place for students to reach out of their comfort zone and socialize with different groups of people. When there is very low attendance at a dance, students aren't able to do this to create a much-desired sense of school unity.

Dances also promote a sense of school spirit that will not be achieved if students do not attend the dances due to the breathalyzer. Most dances are also fundraisers for a specific class. If attendance at school dances decreases, which is has since the breathalyzer has been introduced, so does profit. As a class reaches it's senior year it will not have as much money as desired for the many senior obligations and activities. Under-aged drinking in Longmeadow is a problem that the breathalyzer cannot stop. Many students have voiced their opinions on this topic and authorities know that once one starts drinking every weekend, chances are no one is going to make them stop.

Instead of pushing kids away from school functions, a safe, chaperoned environment should be offered to all. If one drinks too much then they have a problem. Just because someone has a problem doesn't mean they don't deserve a chance to have a good time like everyone else. The breathalyzer should be eliminated from school dances. The breathalyzer will lead kids to party in unsafe environments, push them towards other drugs and decrease school spirit and profit.