Lake Washington High reverses a mandatory alcohol test plan for prom

The Seattle Times is reporting that Lake Washington High is backing away from its plan to test everyone at prom for alcohol. Yesterday, The Seattle PI reported, "A spokeswoman for Lake Washington High School says there have been issues with students drinking at every dance this year, so the principal wants to make sure there's a deterrent for the June 4 dance at the Bellevue Hilton." According to the article, "the ACLU thinks the policy sounds like a 'blanket search' that courts have ruled against in the past."

Today, The Seattle Times writes that LWHS has changed its plans.

The principal of Kirkland's Lake Washington High School has backed off plans to have every student at this year's senior prom tested for alcohol.

In an email to parents Wednesday, Principal Christina Thomas said students will be tested for alcohol consumption at school events only "if there is a reasonable suspicion that the student is under the influence of alcohol."

The Seattle Times

This morning, KOMO's Ken Schram got in on the act and wrote this condemnation of the LWHS policy for alcohol testing and awarded LWHS Principal Christina Thomas a "Schrammie."

In what appears to be an effort to clarify the situation, the Lake Washington School District sent out the following press release:

Lake Washington High School to check prom students for alcohol on suspicion

Passive alcohol sensor will aid in detection


After a thorough review, including research and consultation with district attorneys, Lake Washington High School Principal Christina Thomas announced today that students attending the school’s prom on June 4 will be tested for alcohol consumption only on suspicion.


Thomas noted in a communication with parents, “Student use of alcohol prior to attendance at extra-curricular activities is a serious concern for us and we are continually striving to ensure student safety at school events. We also have a strong interest in ensuring that our students’ rights are protected.”


The following procedure will be used for the upcoming prom:


  • At school events, alcohol screening of individual students will only occur if there is a reasonable suspicion that the student is under the influence of alcohol.
  • If there is reasonable suspicion that the student is under the influence of alcohol, the use of a passive alcohol sensor will help to gather further information about possible alcohol consumption.
  • As at any school-sponsored event, students who are found to be in possession of and/or under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be referred to the School Resource Officer (SRO) and are subject to normal disciplinary action.


Thomas stressed that alcohol consumption by students is not only prohibited at school events, it is illegal and it can be very dangerous. She noted, “It is our desire that the school and parents work together to help educate students on the potential dangers of alcohol use, and we ask for parents’ assistance in helping to reinforce school rules and in ensuring that students do not have access to alcohol. Our desire is for all students to experience positive, fun, safe, and memorable school events.”