YHS Update on Breathalyzer Policy 9/26/12

posted Sep 26, 2012, 12:24 PM by Ted Hall
Dear YHS Parents,

A few weeks ago, I sent an email with the proposed breathalyzer policy attached and let you know about the school committee meeting where this would be discussed.  At that meeting, several parents came and several others sent in comments for consideration.  The school committee discussed the proposed policy and tabled a decision to a later meeting.  Since that meeting, a revision of the proposed policy was written that reflected much of the feedback that the school committee received.  At this Thursday's (September 27) meeting of the school committee, there will be further discussion of this proposed policy.  If you are interested in attending, the meeting will begin at 7:00 PM at the Log Cabin.  If you have further input, you can feel free to email me, superintendent Dr. Judy Paolucci (judy_paolucci@yarmouthschools.org) or Margaret Groban (Margaret_Groban@yarmouthschools.org), the chair of the Yarmouth policy committee. 

The School Committee will not vote on the policy this Thursday but will instead continue their discussion, then table the vote for their first meeting in October.   

The revised proposed policy is below.

Sincerely,

Ted Hall
Principal
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PROPOSED POLICY:

Exhibit A
NEPN/NSBA Code:  JFCL
BREATHALYZER USE
 
The Yarmouth School Committee believes that students who have consumed alcohol or are in possession of alcohol pose a direct safety risk to themselves, staff, other students, and the community-at-large.
 
To minimize this risk and to contribute to a safe environment, the School Committee authorizes administrators to administer breathalyzer tests to students in accordance with the provisions of Part A and B below. The purpose of this policy is to authorize the use of the breathalyzer test under Part A to screen students as they enter a Yarmouth High School dance, and, under Part B to screen students for which reasonable suspicion exists that a student has consumed alcohol or is in possession of alcohol.
 
The administrators giving such tests shall be competent professionals who have been trained in the use of the breathalyzer.
 
Part A:  Use of breathalyzer to screen students as they enter a Yarmouth High School dance.
 
In order to be confident that no students are entering a Yarmouth High School dance under the influence of alcohol, administrators may choose to conduct a breathalyzer test of all students entering the dance.  In the event that administrators give breathalyzer tests to all students in order to be admitted to the Yarmouth High School dance, parents or guardians as well as students will be notified at least a week in advance of the dance that such tests will be administered and the process that will be used. In the event that a non-Yarmouth High School student is authorized to attend the dance, notice will be given as soon as practicable if the authorization to attend is given within one week of the dance.
 
If a student’s test result is positive, (s)he shall be disciplined in accordance with the Chemical Use Policy, and the parents/guardians notified.
 
Any student who refuses to take a breathalyzer test in order to be admitted to the Yarmouth High School dance will not be allowed to enter the dance and his/her parents/guardians will be notified of the student’s refusal to take the breathalyzer.  If it is determined that there is reasonable suspicion that the student is either under the influence of or in possession of alcohol and the student has been advised of the consequences of such a refusal, (s)he shall be disciplined in accordance with the Chemical Use Policy, and the parents/guardians notified.
 
Part B:  Use of breathalyzer to screen students for which reasonable suspicion exists that a student has consumed alcohol or is in the possession of alcohol at school or at a school event
 
If an administrator has reasonable suspicion to believe that a student either is using alcohol or in possession of alcohol, a breathalyzer test may be administered to a student.  If a breathalyzer test is administered, a report shall be prepared indicating the outcome of the test that will be sent to the parents/guardians. If a student’s test result is positive, (s)he shall be disciplined in accordance with the Chemical Use Policy, and the parents/guardians notified.
 
If an administrator has reasonable suspicion to believe that a student either is using alcohol or in possession of alcohol and the student refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test, the student shall be advised of the consequences of such a refusal.  If the student continues to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, he/she shall be disciplined in accordance with the Chemical Use Policy and the parents/guardians notified.
 
The term “breathalyzer” shall include the portable Alco-Sensor FST or other reliable and commercially available mechanism(s).
 
The term “Yarmouth High School dance” refers to a dance sponsored by Yarmouth High School that takes place either at Yarmouth High School or at any other location.  
 
The term “school events” refers to any school activities that take place outside of the regular school day and may include dances, contests, concerts, pep rallies, and other such activities.  School events may take place on school property or in other locations.
 
The term “reasonable suspicion” may be satisfied by conduct including, but not limited to, physical impairment, unusual behavior, blood shot or glassy eyes, odor of alcoholic beverages or on the basis of any other behavior or information that provides a reasonable suspicion that the student has consumed alcohol or is in possession of alcohol.
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