Pair of students asked to take breathalyzer test at Venice High School homecoming dance

Homecoming Dance Breathalyzer Test

VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - Saturday’s homecoming dance at Venice High School is an event one teen boy and a teen girl won’t forget. School administrators asked them to take a breathalyzer test.

“In this case when the student arrived there was some concern about the well being of that student, they asked them questions, they followed up with the breathalyzer,” said Steve Cantees, Executive Director for Secondary Schools for the Sarasota County School District.

In both cases, neither of the students, one of whom attends Venice High and another who attends another school in the district, tested positive for alcohol.

School officials tell us it was later revealed the girl’s behavior was the result of a previous medical condition which they say the student didn’t disclose at the time of the test.

The district says the test results in either a positive or negative, not a blood alcohol content reading. The test was administered by an assistant principal and the district says has it resulted in a positive, the school would have notified parents, waited with the students until parents came to pick them up, and then identify a disciplinary action. The district says law enforcement is not a part of the process.

Some people are against having students take a breathalyzer while many support it.

“I think it’s a great idea, with so much stuff going on these days in school, you can’t be too safe,” said Marcella Lumkang, the grandmother of a Venice High School Student.

The school district says there is a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug or alcohol use. They say Venice High School and other schools use breathalyzer tests as a deterrent to ensure students don’t abuse this policy at dances and other school events, especially if there is reasonable suspicion. The district says they’re not obligated to tell parents about the test, saying the ability to search a student is based on the Student Handbook.

“Our number one priority obviously for any of our events that we want to keep all of our students safe and secure," said Cantees. "We always look for students that might be drinking or under the influence.”

A family member of one of the teenagers involved in this breathalyzer test was advised by her attorney not to comment at this time.

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