As school districts enter prom season, took the steps recently to improve its policy to deter students from peer pressure. The School Committee voted 5-0 last week to send a draft breathalyzer policy to subcommittee for discussion.
"As we all know the number one death for teens is traffic accidents," said Rebecca Elwell of the Tiverton Prevention Coalition, who told the Committee she's been in talks with Principal Steven Fezette and Vice Principal Jack McKinnon for consideration to enact as an official policy. "We want to prevent an event from happening."
Elwell said she doesn't think the policy will be finished in time for this year's prom. Senior prom is May 24 and junior prom is May 25.
"They know this school cares about them," she added. "This is yet one more way we can say to them, 'This is the line we've drawn. We’re going to use every technique and every strategy we’ve come up with to keep you safe.'"
Elwell said they've looked at several Rhode Island schools who have already enacted various breathalyzer policies, including Chariho and Barrington. She said some, like Barrington, give every kid the breathalyzer test upon entering prom, while others do a random selection, or a lottery system where you reach into a bag and pull out a certain color paper, determining whether you get tested, don't get tested or receive a free ticket to prom.
"Administrators have protocol to follow when they suspect a student is under the influence when a student comes to an event," she said. "There's a set of protocols that will remain in place. This policy gives them one more to use."
Elwell noted this used to be a controversial subject 10 years ago, but most schools now have a breathalyzer policy, like , , Westport, Fall River and Somerset.
Superintendent William Rearick said he supports the idea and concept that Tiverton's policy would be based on a person who is reasonably believed to be under the influence and not to be "overly intrusive," citing Barrington.
Also last week, the School Committee voted 5-0 to approve forming a Hiking Club, discussed organizing a Future Business Leaders of America chapter at the and voted 5-0 to make Dave Landoch the new head coach of the boys' varsity basketball team.
To watch full-length Tiverton Town Council and School Committee meetings, go to http://www.tivertonvideos.blogspot.com.