For the first time, every Perham High School student and guest will be required to take an alcohol-detecting breath test before being admitted to prom or post-prom festivities.

School Principal Ehren Zimmerman said the tests are a community effort by parents, the school and law enforcement to ensure a safe and secure night for everyone.

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“It’s not like it’s been a huge problem,” he said. “It really isn’t.”

Jeana Nelson, who is on the post-prom committee, said a lot of the decision came from Zimmerman, but the committee also wanted to be sure students can have fun doing their own thing while maintaining a safe environment for all.

Sometimes students don’t want to go straight from the grand march to the dance, Nelson said. This way, students can have a little more freedom to go eat supper or do something else.

Law enforcement officers, not parents or other volunteers, will be the ones administering the tests, said Zimmerman.

If someone is found to have been drinking, he or she will not be let in to the dance. Perham students will face repercussions from the school and there may be other legal consequences.

 A letter explaining the new policy was sent to all of the students who might attend the dance. Zimmerman said he has not heard anything from students challenging or questioning the decision.