Southington students divided over national school walkout

Southington High School (WFSB)

The administration at Southington High School plans to purchase a handful of breathalyzers in an effort to curb drinking among teens.

School officials said they plan to use them on students this week as the teens enter the Friday night Welcome Back Dance.

The parents told Eyewitness News on Tuesday that they supported the school’s decision.

“I think it's a good thing,” parent Jessica Huppenbauer said. “Get as many people off the street that are drinking and driving as you can.”

Parents were emailed about the decision to get portable Breathalyzers to catch students drinking when attending a high school event.

“We are doing this in an effort to ensure the safety of your children and our students,” the email stated.

“I know back in the days, we still had the problem, so this doesn't surprise me,” Jackie Santos, who works in Southington, said.

Eight Breathalyzers were purchased by STEPS, Southington's Community Prevention Coalition. One thing the group does is working to reduce substance use in teens.

During the last school year, the group gave out surveys to seventh, ninth and 11th graders, asking them about their sexuality, drug use and if they're having sex.

Some parents sent Eyewitness News an email they got from the school last week about the breathalyzer purchase.

“I have a 17-year-old, so I wouldn't want him drinking and driving,” Huppenbauer said. “I think it's a good thing.”

The Southington Police Department said this was the board of education's policy and seems to be the reason for the decision.

"If this course of action will prevent students from drinking alcohol prior to school events then that is a positive,” police told Eyewitness News.

Some think more schools should do this.

“Anything to keep our kids safe would be great," Huppenbauer said.

Southington's school officials said this is pretty common. Eyewitness News did some research and found this technique was used at Seymour High School along with schools in New Jersey, Texas and California.

If a student is caught drinking, there is no word if they're not allowed in or if police will get involved.

Eyewitness News reached out to the superintendent and to STEPS, but our calls and emails weren't returned on Tuesday afternoon.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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