Police shouldn’t be helping breath-test school ball goers

Green Party Human Rights Spokesperson Keith Locke has criticised the Police for wasting resources on the objectionable breath-testing of students going to a school ball.

Mr Locke was speaking in response to a requirement by Kapiti College, north of Wellington, that all students attending its annual ball this Saturday must agree to be breathalysed on equipment loaned to the school by police, before being allowed to attend the dance.

“Kapiti School’s breath-testing is an unnecessary affront to the students, and the Police shouldn’t be wasting time and resources in this way.The Kapiti police would be better out on the road catching drunk drivers, particularly in view of the high accident rate in that area of Highway One.

“By imposing such intrusive testing, the Kapiti principal displays little regard for the students attending the annual ball. Surely the school can recognise a drunk student, and exclude them, without resorting to Big Brother techniques.

“The fact that students might have ‘agreed’ to the breath-testing doesn’t excuse this obnoxious practice. It wasn’t a free choice, because students were going to miss a highlight of their year if didn’t sign the contract signalling their ‘consent’ to the procedure.

“The Greens are worried about the precedent. Are we going to see a whole rash of private breath-testing as the Police farm out equipment to schools, employers and community organisations? Amateurs, not subject to any Police code, are more likely to get the results wrong.

“This is no substitute for good Police work to stop drunk driving, and it will do nothing for the school’s ability to foster respect among students for the principal’s authority. If Kapiti College cannot hold a dance without support from the police, what is next – police officers in the classroom to help impose discipline.”