As high school students across the Garden State get ready for their senior proms this spring, many of them will be told to expect alcohol screenings at the front door before they'll be allowed inside.

(geargodz, ThinkStock)
(geargodz, ThinkStock)

"One main idea of testing students for alcohol before the prom is to discourage drinking and driving," said New Jersey School Boards Association spokesman Frank Belluscio. "It's the same rationale that you see with after-prom parties. What we really want to do is make sure that the kids are safe."

Belluscio said prom season is a celebratory time.

"We really don't want alcohol involved in these celebrations at all, so many districts have been instituting Breathalyzer programs," he said.

Belluscio said even though many students rent limos to transport them to and from the prom, "you still want them to have a good time without getting ill or really getting into other sorts of trouble that could result from alcohol use."

At schools where such testing will be conducted, students and their parents will also be given advanced warning if and when random drug tests are carried out at school.

"The rationale behind it is student safety," Belluscio said. "We want to have a drug-free environment. As a parent myself, certainly I would be supportive of this safety effort."

Some schools are using the traditional Breathalyzer test, where students breathe into a mask, while others are using what is called a Passive Alcohol Sensor, which gives a less specific reading, but does indicate when alcohol is present.

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