Breathalyzer test at prom violation of rights?

(Fotolia/Photo illustration)

(Fotolia/Photo illustration)

Michele Mandel, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

TORONTO -- This year's Northern Secondary School prom is aiming to be a sobering celebration -- but not if the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has its way.

Yes, the CCLA has sent a warning letter to Northern's principal urging them to reconsider the school's new policy for a mandatory breathalyzer test for every prom guest, insisting it would violate the students' constitutional rights.

What right? To drink illegally when they are underage?

After consulting the parent council last month, Northern principal Ron Felsen decided to follow the lead of Malvern Collegiate, which has used breathalyzers to screen students arriving at prom and other dances for more than a decade, and is actually borrowing their devices for their May 29 formal.

"Over the previous years, they have had issues with people coming to prom under the influence," explains Ryan Bird, spokesman for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

Northern has tried assemblies, speakers, letters home to parents -- but nothing has seemed to discourage students from having pre-drink get-togethers before turning up at prom.

"They were continuing to have issues," Bird says. "Based on past experience, they believe this is the next step to ensure they have a safe and healthy prom that is alcohol free."


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