Breathalyzing at STA Dances

A breathalyzer is invited to all STA dances.


Junior Emma Kate Callahan practices blowing into STA’s breathalyzer. The breathalyzer is stored in Baker’s office and is present at all STA dances. photo illustration by Katie Donnellan

by Katie Donnellan, Staff Writer

STA continues alcohol preventative procedures by having a breathalyzer at all school dances.The breathalyzer was bought in 2011 and has been at all school dances since.  Previous Principal of Student Affairs, Mary Ann Hoecker, purchased the breathalyzer due to safety concerns, including a STA student being taken away in an ambulance at another school’s dance.

Current Principal of Student Affairs Dr. Elizabeth Baker reviewed Hoecker’s dance notes in preparation for Teresian. Since this is her first year at STA, she has not seen any incidents yet.

“Our main concern is that people act in an STA way,” Baker said, “The breathalyzer is a regulation that, if I feel like someone is not acting according to STA’s expectation, I will use.”

According to Baker, this rule is not meant to scare people. The alcohol and controlled substances statement is in place to help those in need of help.

“We want to be able to figure out what is causing a person to make the decision to abuse alcohol,” Baker said. “The two reasons we have the breathalyzer and the rule is for safety and making sure people are acting in a way that is in line with STA’s values.”

Despite the intention of the rule, many students still fear breathalyzing.

“[Breathalyzing is] intimidating and scary even when you know you’ve done nothing wrong,” junior Catherine Parra said.

The rule follows STA’s mission of helping the dear neighbor, with the intention to help those that are abusing alcohol and drugs, according to Baker.

Rockhurst High School follows a similar policy to STA, testing only those they feel are harming safety or are acting crazy. Notre Dame de Sion follows a random testing procedure. Students pick a marble to see if they will be one of five tested before the dance.

Junior Bailey Mitchell was breathalyzed at Sion’s winter formal after picking a purple marble. Mitchell was escorted into a back hallway with others where she was handed a straw attached to the breathalyzer and blew into the breathalyzer. The ordeal took around twenty minutes.