Students at a Southern Minnesota High School were shocked Friday when they were railroaded into the school gymnasium to be tested for alcohol. Parents of the students were also shocked to learn of the procedure that did not come with prior notice, and was performed without any parental permission.
Law enforcement from Olmsted County, officer with the Department of Natural Resources and personnel from the Minnesota State Patrol were reportedly on hand Friday morning to great seniors at St. Charles High School. The students were brought to the gymnasium to take breathalyzer tests.
A news report from KARE 11 does not indicate what any of the test results revealed, nor does the report indicate whether law enforcement had hoped to bring any underage drinking charges from the investigation. Apparently, the school threatened to ban any student from the commencement ceremony who refused to submit to the breathalyzer test.
Apparently, some students told the media after the event that a party had occurred the night before the surprise breath testing operation at the high school. However, the students say that no driver was allowed to keep his or her car keys if they had consumed alcohol. Sober drivers were available at the alleged underage party to avoid the possibility of underage drinking and driving or DWI offenses.
Some parents were outraged by law enforcement’s surprise underage alcohol consumption operation. One parent told KARE 11 that, “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.” But she also says that the parents did not agree with the unannounced law enforcement operation at the school on the Friday morning following the alleged underage drinking party.
The superintendent of schools and the St. Charles Police apparently were not giving the media any explanation or comment on why the underage drinking enforcement effort was scheduled on the school grounds that morning. The rationale behind the secretive law enforcement effort remains somewhat of a mystery.
Generally, the scope of constitutional rights that a minor may enjoy in an individual situation involves complex legal issues. But it is vitally important to note that an underage consumption, underage drinking and driving or driving while impaired charge in Minnesota can lead to harsh and long-lasting consequences.
It is important for any student (or parent of a student) charged with an alcohol offense in Minnesota to consider speaking with a seasoned Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after allegations arise.
Source: KARE 11 News, “Students at MN high school given unannounced breathalyzer tests,” June 5, 2012