Board nixed random tests

School officials were worried about legal issues


— Concerns about the legality of randomly selecting students for Breathalyzer tests stopped the procedure from taking place at last weekend's Steamboat Springs High School prom.

School Board Vice President Jeff Troeger contacted attorney Dick Lyons on May 3 after learning high school officials planned to pull students aside at the after prom party and use a Portable Breath Test to test blood-alcohol content.

On Thursday, School Board President Denise Connelly said board members exchanged e-mails the day they learned about the planned tests because they were concerned about legal implications of random testing. Connelly said Lyons questioned the necessity of Breathalyzer tests unless there was a high incidence level of alcohol consumption. Connelly also said random Breathalyzer tests could be perceived as a violation of students' rights.

Debbi Funston, the resource officer at the high school, said although no random PBT tests were administered Saturday, some students who were suspected of being intoxicated were tested. Such tests are district procedure, Funston said.

Connelly said the board is aware those tests are conducted and board members are comfortable with tests being conducted when there is strong suspicion a student has consumed alcohol.

Steamboat Springs High School Principal Mike Knezevich and assistant principal Kevin Taulman said the decision to administer random PBTs was reached after a contingent of students requested them.

"They were tired of students showing up intoxicated at prom," Taulman said.

The number of students who approached Taulman and Knezevich about random Breathalyzer tests was less than a dozen, but Taulman estimated they were speaking on behalf of 30 or so upperclassmen.

Connelly said she was aware students had asked for the tests Saturday, but she said even if half the high school students signed their rights away for the random PBTs, the other did not, which was a concern.

"I had made a promise to our students and parents, but I had to follow the direction of the board," Knezevich said Thursday.

Steamboat's efforts to conduct random Breathalyzer tests made nationwide news, but the concept of random Breathalyzer tests for high school students is not entirely unheard of, Taulman said. Two schools at which he worked previously did random testing.

- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail


Scott Stanford 9 years, 10 months ago

I am on vacation, but this story caught my attention. Read my Blog entry at:

Scott Stanford Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today (970) 871-4221


reallocal 9 years, 10 months ago

How can the BOE be demanding that certain community members give up their right of privacy and, at the very same meeting, defend the "right" of underage kids to drink at a school event? Something's wrong here...


JQPUBLIC 9 years, 10 months ago

I knew someone would yell "violation of students' rights", I just didn't think it would be the board president. Stanford made a great point, when and how did the board come up with this decision? These kids are underage, they do not have a right to be drinking, but here we go again, politically correct rights for a few outweighs the well-being and safety of the majority.
reallocal... the only thing wrong with this picture is the recall doesn't include Connelly.


dwahzner 9 years, 10 months ago

We now live in a post 9/11 world that requires us to give up our personal rights, in order to keep us safe! Unfortunately, we must tread very light as to not set ourselves up for a government we can't control in the name of safety. In the name of safety, we do things to save us from ourselves and others by makings stiff laws to govern us. When we step into a further realm of safety, we give up rights. Dangerous, if you understand how our civil rights were created in the first place! Maybe in all good faith the BA's were a good idea to deter alcohol from being at the after prom however, the drunks didn't go to after prom. They were still out on the roads with us because they were denied after prom. Save the kids and kill the familys. Maybe sobriety check points would of worked. Maybe the drunk kid would stay at after prom and sober up instead of hitting the road and crahing into one of us! Let the cops do the dirty work. As far as the school board and all that, I'm not going to participate in that witch hunt! NASTY is all I can say!


reallocal 9 years, 10 months ago

Maybe it's not the school's job to babysit the drunk prom kids (they have parents, after all). Maybe those students should even (gasp) be held responsible for their actions, although judging from recent events, our district is not setting a very good example of this.

dw, maybe we should have let them have Bloody Marys Sunday morning at the after prom party. That way they would have gotten to sober up without all that annoying hangover stuff. And the stoned and high ones should probably have been there too, just to make sure that everyone on the roads were safe. There's a local program for this, wait, it's coming to me, it's called detox. You can get your very own room at the jail to sober up in. Underage kids do not need to be sobering up at school. Discouraging underage drinking at a school event is NOT equivalent to encouraging these kids to drink and drive.


dwahzner 9 years, 10 months ago

Reallocal, I believe in the BA. Hell, last year when my daughter was a senior, I thought it was a great idea! My point was not made clear and I'm sorry. Kid are kids and are still going to display behavior that is dangerous and risky, like drinking. They have a whole world of adult influences. Being a responsible drinker at a legal age is the target. doing away with risky adolecent behavior is another target we as parents work for. The ones that have no guidance are the other group that feeds the cause of underage drinking, along with peer and parent influences. There could of been more agency assist that night, adding to the "heat is on" police action. Kids who attend a school function drunk get busted. Hands down there is no "babysitting" per se". I hard balled the rules with my kids and they suffered for their issues they choosed to make. They're better individuals today, even though they have records. I guess today's standards are not what they used to be. More acceptance for the risky behavior is seen as normal in a fearless generation of consequence. Sorry for any mix up in opinion.


reallocal 9 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for clarifying, dw. That makes a lot more sense now.


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