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Court sides with school in prom breathalyzer dispute

Case involved 9 students who traveled on 'party bus' to Martin County high prom

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(Tai Gray/Wikimedia)

A federal appeals court Thursday rejected arguments that the constitutional rights of students had been violated in a case stemming from breathalyzer tests at a Martin County high-school prom.

The case involved nine students who were part of a group that traveled on a "party bus" to the May 2014 junior/senior prom of Jensen Beach High School.

After the bus arrived at the prom, a school resource officer sought permission from the driver to search it. The officer found an empty champagne bottle and 12 cups, leading school officials to require the passengers to take breathalyzer tests before entering the prom, said Thursday's ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The students were required to stand in a line and had to wait a lengthy period before getting tested because of an equipment issue, leading them to miss all or a large part of the prom, the ruling said.

All 38 students who were tested passed with zero blood-alcohol content.

The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Martin County School District, the school and individual officials, arguing that students' constitutional rights had been violated.

A U.S. District Court judge ruled against the students, and a three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld that decision Thursday in a 33-page decision.