Drunk pupils in class: Brabant school starts using breathalyzers

High school classroom
High school classroom. (Photo: HaMinh1997 / Wikimedia Commons)

The Varendonck College in Asten and Someren is going to start using breathalyzer tests on their pupils. The VMBO, HAVO and VWO school believes that an increasing number of pupils are drunk in class, Omroep Brabant reports.

The school has acquired breathalyzer tests, but hasn't yet used them on pupils, rector Irma van Nieuwenhuijsen said to the broadcaster. "If we suspect that a pupil is drunk in the classroom, we want this option", she said.

The rector does not have concrete figures, but said it is becoming increasingly common for pupils to come to class under the influence of alcohol, especially after a fair or beer festival. "Beautiful traditions that we have here in the region. But I am responsible for a safe learning environment and for giving good lessons. If one, two or three pupils are drunk in class on a Monday morning, it is no longer possible to provide good education."

On Wednesday the school sent letters to all parents of students from the third class onwards. According to Van Nieuwenhuijsen, teenagers drinking is seen as "too normal" in the region. "In this way we want to take a position as a school and start a discussion about it."

If a teacher now suspects that a pupil is drunk in class, the pupil will be asked to leave the class. His or her parents will be called, to ask permission to do the breathalyzer test. If the pupil turns out to be under the influence, he or she will be sent home.

Someren's fair starts on September 21st. According to Van Nieuwenhuijsen, this is a direct reason for Varendonck to take action now.