The Breathalyzer Testing Policy was adopted Dec. 11, 2008 and according to Dean Schlanger, Manhasset High School principal, it is Department of Transportation approved for accuracy and is BOCES aidable. The district purchased four through a grant, the Title 4 Safe and Drug Free Schools, a federal grant that falls under No Child Left Behind. Schlanger affirmed the "district is taking an aggressive role to try to curtail drinking while maintaining safe and fun social activities."
Before each major dance there is a full assembly, Schlanger said, that is information based; "I show them all my cards." In black and white the breathalyzer policy does the same. If, at an event, there is a reasonable suspicion of drinking, it removes the subjectivity. Conversely, it protects the student if no drinking has occurred in spite of the suspicion. Aside from social events held at the school, it is an open campus and, if necessary, on a school day students can be tested on their return to campus.
Principal Schlanger said to date the feedback has been positive. It is deemed a positive that the district is being pro-active, recognizing there is a problem. He said they are now counted among six to 10 school districts with an active breathalyzer policy (some are in formation). "There is no intention on the part of the district to be cavalier or trendsetters," the principal said, "but we are rather following suit in something that is meaningful. The policy is a tool, a deterrent to support and supplement existing protocol and falls under the code of conduct."
In partnership with the community, any individual is welcome to call the principal or assistant principal if they have a concern about an upcoming party, although parties are not illegal, the use of liquor is. Schlanger made it clear if there is a concern about a community issue or potential problem, it is appropriate to call.
The Manhasset School District and New York State Law prohibit alcohol use in the school environment (BOE Policy 5300.25.1). Accordingly, the Manhasset Board of Education authorizes Breathalyzer use as a deterrent to support the district's intent to enforce its zero tolerance policy for consuming, selling, distributing or the possession of alcohol (BOE Policy 5440). In order to protect the health and safety of students and others, the board believes strong measures are necessary to prevent students from attending school and school-sponsored events after consuming alcohol. Therefore, the following procedures involving the use of Breathalyzers shall apply in the Manhasset Public Schools.
When determining possible alcohol use by a student before, during and/or after the school day or at a school related/sponsored event, the safety of the student is the primary concern. An assessment of a student's suspected alcohol use may be aided by the use of a breath alcohol testing device which indicates the presence or absence of alcohol. Breathalyzer testing is authorized when there is reasonable suspicion that a student has consumed or is in possession of alcohol. The determination of reasonable suspicion will be based on, but not limited to, any one or more of the following indicators:
• Flushed face
• Red, watery, glassy or bloodshot eyes
• Odor of alcohol on breath, clothing or person
• Slurred speech/unable to follow instructions
• Failure to comprehend questions
• Impaired motor skills (i.e. unsteady feet, swaying, etc.)
• Being combative, argumentative or inordinately jovial while talking
• Lack of awareness in regard to time and place
• Found in possession of product containing alcohol
If an administrator has reason to believe that a student has consumed alcohol, based on one or more of the above indicators or other reasonable indicators, the administrator shall request the student to submit to a Breathalyzer test. A trained and certified staff person shall privately administer the test in the presence of a witness. If the test is positive, unless the student verbally admits alcohol consumption, the administrator shall conduct a confirming test in fifteen minutes. If the student admits consuming or the second test results are positive, the district will (1) notify the student's parent or guardian and request that the student be returned home under parental supervision; (2) Emergency help shall be called if the student is assessed to be at risk for alcohol poisoning or in need of medical assistance.
Pursuant to State Law, disciplinary action will be taken as indicated by Board Policy 5300 (Code of Conduct), and the administrative regulations outlined in the student handbook summary of the high school disciplinary code (minimum corrective measures for first and subsequent alcohol and drug offenses). The district administration shall retain positive Breathalyzer test records only during the student's enrollment in Manhasset Schools.
If the Breathalyzer test is negative, the student may receive permission to resume unrestricted activity providing the event supervisor does not suspect the use of other drugs, or unless other disciplinary rules apply to the student's untoward behavior. If the administrator suspects the use of other drugs or the student appears unable to walk properly/conduct himself/herself in a "normal" manner, the student will be retained in a room for his/her safety. The supervisor will contact the student's parent/guardian, describe the situation and request the parent take the child home for disciplinary purposes or medical evaluation.
If a student is suspected of having consumed alcohol and refuses the Breathalyzer test:
Students who refuse to take the Breathalyzer test, upon determination that there is reasonable suspicion that they have consumed alcohol, will be deemed to have tested positive and will be subject to all disciplinary measures (BOE Policy 5300). The administrator will then notify parents or guardian and request them to pick up the student.
Records of students passing, failing or refusing to take an active Breathalyzer test as herein provided will be maintained by district administrative personnel as a Breathalyzer event record but will not be considered a part of the student's permanent academic record. Such "event" records may be used by school personnel only to the extent necessary to administer this policy and code of conduct for before, during and/or after the school day or at school related/sponsored activities. The records and information contained therein shall not otherwise be released to anyone.
• 5300.25.1 - Prohibited Student Conduct
• 5440 - Drug And Alcohol Abuse
• 5440R - Drug And Alcohol Abuse