Seniors in Minnesota forced to take breathalyzer - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Seniors in Minnesota forced to take breathalyzer


Seniors at Minnesota's St. Charles High School arrived at school Friday ready to enjoy their last day of class, but instead they were forced to take a test, and it had nothing to do with grades.

Departing seniors were greeted by law enforcement, and some parents are up in arms.

"I received a phone call from my son and said he was just subjected to a breathalyzer test," says Jim Welp.

Seniors at St. Charles High School were given breathalyzer exams, without notice and without parental consent.

"They were all coming into the high school with breathalyzer tests, and it started clicking in my head that why would they be in a hurry to get these done if they had the right to do it?" asks Welp. "Why did they call in all this extra manpower, an unnecessary use of resources?"

Students say they were called in the gym Friday morning and were told that they would be given the breathalyzer or they would not participate in commencement.

Officers from Olmsted County, the Department of Natural Resources and the state patrol were said to be on hand.

The students were not told their rights, and those in the gym felt forced into the situation.

"It felt like we had to go along with it," says Carter Swenson. "I've been told that if you're 18 you can reject the breathalyzer, and we're all 18, so I had no idea you can do that, so I went in there and took it, but I felt like it was forced."

The students admit that there was a gathering the night before with alcohol present, but that their keys were taken away and given to a sober driver.

While still participating in an illegal action, the students say they took proper safety precautions.

"As parents in St. Charles, we just want to make sure that people do realize that we do not condone underage drinking, and the kids that were drinking were wrong," says mother Jean Johnston, "but we also do not agree with the situation that occurred here today."

The rationale behind the testing is still unclear, but this class of seniors feel that their reputation in the small community of St. Charles could be tarnished forever.

Efforts were made to contact the St. Charles superintendent and the St. Charles Police Department, but neither are commenting at this time.

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