Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Who's At Fault?

Is this a case of teenagers being buttheads, adults being stupid, or both?
Forty students from Jensen Beach High School booked a private charter bus, or party bus, to take them to prom. When they arrived, they were told they couldn't go inside because a champagne bottle and some cups had been found on the bus, said Michele Blanco, spokesman for the Martin County School District.

"The students had all signed a zero-tolerance policy for prom that said they could be Breathalyzed if there was reasonable suspicion," Blanco said.

So the students lined up for their sobriety tests. Each of the 40 students tested negative, Blanco said. But by the time the tests were completed, it was too late to go inside, the students say.
What caused the adults to go onto the bus in the first place?  Were teenagers acting drunk, for example?  Did the bottle appear to be freshly emptied?
Lyn Drazkowski said she condones the school's policy and process, but the champagne bottle was dry, shoved behind a booth on the bus. As their classmates were entering and exiting prom, they passed by Kaelyn Drazkowski and her pals, which was humiliating for the group.

"My daughter comes home and cries herself to sleep," Lyn Drazkowski told CNN. "It's a night that she'll never get back"...

Doug Bass said the problem isn't that school officials tested the students; it's that they barred them from entering the prom even after it became clear the kids weren't drinking.

"When they start testing them, and no one is showing they have any alcohol in their system, that's a bit much," he said. "You only get one senior prom -- and 40 of those kids didn't."
If I were innocent and being accused of violating the rules, I'd be angry, too.  That's not necessarily a reason to suspect them of wrongdoing.  And how long does it take to administer breathalyzer tests, anyway?

It's clear that we don't have all the details, but at first glance it appears that the adults from school hold the lion's share of the fault here.


Steve USMA '85 said...

Proper prior planning...

I find it hard to have sympathy for young adults (they are kids anymore) who arrive at 10:30 for an event which started at 8:00. Two and a half hours late for a four hour event and you want to tack the blame on the administration? Even if they were able to walk right in, they would only have 90 minutes at the prom.

75 minutes to give 40 people a breathalyzer test? Less than two minutes to prep the machine, have the person blow (and many times, blow again because they didn't blow hard/long enough), read and record the results, and move on to repeat for the next person. Pretty good throughput if you ask me. The school was probably prepared with only one machine as one could reasonable argue no more than a handful of students at most would require testing. I would have never envisioned needing 40 tests in 90 minutes.

Just because there was a large number of students involved doesn't mean they should get special treatment. Carload of four kids and one empty beer can, blow all four. Busload and one empty champagne bottle, yeah, we'll give you all a pass due to shear volume. Don't think that would, or should, fly.

maxutils said...

Showing up late definitely indicates a lack of concern for the event. However ... why was the champagne bottle even found? And, as a less than proud member of the coffee club myself -- you can tell without a breathalyzer if someone has been drinking. You use the breathalyzer to confirm your suspicions after you smell it on them. For all you know? That bottle could have been from weeks ago, and have no relationship at all to the students or the parents. The standard should be: "Do I have reason to believe you've been drinking?" An empty bottle on a bus does not meet that standard, at least in my mind. And the fact that none of them tested positive bears out my point.