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School's Alcohol Detection Policy Goes to Vote Tuesday

Board of Education will vote to approve or reject policy during Tuesday's meeting at 8 p.m.

Board of Education is set to vote on the proposed alcohol detection policy Tuesday night during the regular meeting. The policy was introduced by Superintendent Edward Ehmann during the April 24 board meeting.

The policy states that "any student for whom there is a reasonable suspicion of the use of alcohol before or during the school day, prior to or during an extra-curricular, interscholastic, or other school-related function, whether condusted on or away from school property, may be required to submit to a breathalyzer test."

Policy 5290 also states that the district does not intended to conduct random student testing. If implimented the policy would be geared towards deterring students from using alcohol while at school or school functions.

Click here to see the full proposed policy. 

Should the board approve the policy? Let us know in our poll.

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Brian Whitehurst May 22, 2012 at 02:00 PM
If depriving young adults of their 5th Amendment rights is a way to build their self esteem such that they will turn from drug and alcohol use then no one should have have the "right to life, liberty and property without due process of the law." Then we will have a truly healthy community. Or, maybe helping the students know that even when they "can't get caught" there is a higher Authority that sees what is in their hearts. Bring God back into the classroom and you will gift students with a moral compass that will last them a life time.
Rita May 22, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I understand that this might prevent all students from offending and discourage it. They should definitely do both BUT the idea of prevention goes to the root of the problem such fostering better parental relations. We cant expect the schools to raise our children. I always thought school was to teach academic subjects and to provide a good example of adult behavior. Why cant we drug test at home as well and if you suspect your child of risky behavior.... seriously... its the parents' responsibility. Who is really raising our kids? Think about it....
Darry Bilco May 22, 2012 at 02:55 PM
You have no idea what you are talking about. What color is the sky in your world? Your first problem is looking at the rankings of a magazine without questioning the criteria for the ranking (and I doubt that Smithtown ranked at the bottom...) Secondly, no where in the discussion did anyone say that this policy will raise standardized testing scores, raise graduation rates, improve Regents diploma rates. It is simply a policy that will allow the school to test for suspected alcohol abuse. This is the case with EVERY school in the country - kids will try to sneak alcohol into a prom, before a game, or other school function. Think before you write.
One Opinion May 22, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I think the spirit of this policy is being lost on many people. This policy is being proposed to serve as a deterent. The use of an alcohol test is only at "extra curricular" activiies were a parent has already signed a consent to administer the test if needed. This policy has nothing to do with with testing for alcohol use in school. A BOE member brought up a good point during the last meeting. Attending school and receiving an education is a constitutional right. Attending after school activities, sports and events is a privilege which each student can loose if they choose to violate rules. I would think that if a student knows that their parent signed a consent for a alcohol test and that they run a real risk of being tested at an event, they will certaily think twice before using alcohol at school functions. That I believe is the purpose of the policy.
One Opinion May 22, 2012 at 03:15 PM
You really believe that the school should go around taking blood and urine samples from students to check for drug use? Seriously? If that's the case then I would start with drug testing all the parents first. You would solve more problems that way. There is no way I would ever consent to having by children drug tested by the school and I believe I am in the majority here.
One Opinion May 22, 2012 at 03:20 PM
@Brian Liberty is liberty. How can you be in support of a persons right of due process yet you have no issue with forcing them to sit in a classroom and have religious doctrine drilled into their heads. There are many, many people who lead good decent lives and do not need to live under the fear of "God".
Rita May 22, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Good point One Opinion, you hit the nail right on the head on all comments.
Brian Whitehurst May 22, 2012 at 03:41 PM
“In my view, the Christian Religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed...no truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian Religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.” Noah Webster founder of the Webster Dictionary still read in schools, but the Bible is not.
One Opinion May 22, 2012 at 04:02 PM
@ Brian That is why there are parochial schools. Public schools serve the general public which consist of many people of many different beliefs and religions. Your statement, while true to your personal beliefs, is an example of hypocracy.
Ken Heard May 22, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Darry, the breathalyzer test is merely a sideshow distracting attention to the district's poor showing in the US News and World Report survey on best high schools nationwide. This district spend, per capita, over $20,000 per student each year and the best we have . to show is 382 for West and 585 for East. Breathalyzers also pose legal problems for the district. A police officer can arrest a driver who tests well below the limits that define DUI or DWI if, in his opinion, he is impaired. This event could occur if the driver is lean and trim, as are many young high school students. Where do you draw the line ? In Europe, it is normal behavior for children as young as 14 to drink wine at dinner with their parents. In the popular series The Chronicles of Narnia, it was normal behavior for the 4 children to have a glass of wine with their meal . Breathalyzers could very well punish children who test very low on the breathalyzer scale. On the flip side, it the school tests a student who shows a low blood-alcohol ratio (neither impaired or intoxicated) and allows him to drive, what is the school's responsibility if the student gets into a serious accident.?
Brian Whitehurst May 22, 2012 at 04:13 PM
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens." George Washington's Farewell Address, Sept 17, 1796 another "hypocrite".
Kevin May 22, 2012 at 04:21 PM
This proposed policy, in my opinion, is aimed at the problems with inebriated students attending prom. I really don’t like an open ended policy where school personnel can pick and choose who they think needs to be tested. If you believe the student is drunk, call the parents or the police. Sadly, there are too many parents who think that teenage drinking is okay as long as they don’t get in a car. My kids have friends who have parents who have no problem with kids coming over the house and going in the basement to drink. One of these parents also happens to be an elementary school teacher in Smithtown.
Fred Stewart May 22, 2012 at 04:37 PM
@ brian whitehurst: according to the Treaty of Tripoli, Art. 11. "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries" Keep religion our of public life... keep it in church, where it belongs (if even there).
Brian Whitehurst May 22, 2012 at 04:49 PM
U.S. TREATIES MADE UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF "GOD" OR "ALMIGHTY GOD": MEXICO, 1848: "In the name of Almighty God: The United States of America and the United Mexican States. . . " MEXICO, 1853: "In the name of Almighty God: The Republic of Mexico and the United States of America. . . " COLUMBIA, 1824: "In the name of God, Author and Legislator of the Universe. The United States of America, and the Republic of Columbia. . . " CHILE, 1832: "In the name of God, Author and Legislator of the Universe. The United States of America, and the Republic of Chili. . . " OTHER U.S. TREATIES WHICH USE THE WORD "GOD" OR "ALMIGHTY GOD": In 1787, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams signed a treaty with Morocco titled "Treaty of Peace and Friendship." This treaty was done under the authority of "Almighty God." It also said "trusting in God it will remain permanent." In 1865, the United States and Morocco with 10 other powers signed a treaty that began this way: "In the name of the only God! There is no strength nor power but of God. "His Excellency the President of the United States of America. . . " In 1890, the United States along with at least 15 other nations entered into a treaty against the slave trade. The treaty was titled: "General Act For the Repression of the African Slave Trade." The treaty began this way: "In the Name of God Almighty. The President of the United States of America . . . (other nations followed)."
Brian Whitehurst May 22, 2012 at 04:51 PM
U.S. TREATIES MADE UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY: RUSSIA, 1824: "In the name of the Most Holy and Indivisible Trinity. The President of the United States of America and His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias. . ." RUSSIA, 1832: "In the name of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity. The United States of America and His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias. . ." PORTUGAL, 1840: "In the Name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity. The United States of America and Her Most Faithful Majesty the Queen of Portugal. . ." Paraguay, 1859: "In the name of the Most Holy Trinity. The Government of the two Republics, the United States of America and of Paraguay. . ." COSTA RICA, 1851: "In the name of the Most Holy Trinity." BRAZIL, 1828, 1849: "In the name of the Most Holy and Invisible Trinity. The United States of America and His Majesty the Emperor of Brazil. . . " Incredibly, the treaty that the United States entered into in 1783 which ended the Revolutionary War was signed under the authority of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The treaty began this way: "In the name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity." The American representatives for the treaty were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay, soon to be the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
One Opinion May 22, 2012 at 05:01 PM
@Brian The Tea Party is lucky to have you!
Skakmati May 22, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Please.....you and Woody need to stop shouting (all caps). Thank you.
Brian Whitehurst May 22, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Just making sure the Truth is heard above the lies.
Bob May 22, 2012 at 05:34 PM
@ One Opinion--are you ready for this? I agree with your post about testing the parents and everything you wrote in that one reply. :-)
Brian Whitehurst May 22, 2012 at 05:34 PM
What happens when your children are found positive for drug use? Are the schools then required to notify the police? Now your child is in the "System" and God help them then.
Bob May 22, 2012 at 05:37 PM
@ One Opinion--what is going on here? We are agreeing on way too many things!! Is someone else posting under your name? :-)
Bob May 22, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Nice job. I agree with this post too.
Ken Heard May 22, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Right on target, Brian.
One Opinion May 22, 2012 at 05:49 PM
@ Bob Have you come over the dark side? It's so nice when we can all get along. :)
Chris May 22, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Random testing needs to be done on the student athletes. Coaches are known to ignore the drug/alcohol abuse of their star players. Their "no tolerance" policy is a joke and the kids know it.
smithtownmom May 22, 2012 at 08:45 PM
I'd like to comment on 2 items...first, the NATIONAL rankings of our high schools out of 22,000 schools surveryed were: SHS West (382) & SHS East (585) with West earning the Gold Medal standard nationally. Locally in NY State, West ranked (54) & East (76) out of 1,165 schools surveyed. Not sure how these rankings translate to "bottom of the barrel". Secondly, last time I checked, the drinking age in our state is 21 & illegal drugs are still illegal & consuming / obtaining prescripton narcotics for recreational use is also illegal. If ANY student is consuming alchohol/drugs, they are engaging in illegal activity. In this day & age, with all the driving accidents we read about all too often, to have anything other than a zero tolerance policy on student drinking is mind boggling. Of course, as adults, we know our children are going to experiment but do we have to make it so easy for them. Why should there NOT be consequences in place to deter them from making bad choices. Lets start showing our kids that as a community we are invested in their future. Lets help our youth develop good citizenship. Lets show them we are not punishing them but rather want them to succeed thereby setting boundaries. They can make a choice NOT to drink & therefore this discussion of whether they would be subjected to a breathalyzer test would be a moot point. It really is THEIR choice!! ....since this is not a random test.....
Ken Heard May 22, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Did not 4 Long high schools finish in the top 100 NATIONWIDE, including Commack High at 95th . At a cost of $20,000 per capita per student per year, the least the district should do is query these four top rated Long Island schools and learn from them. . Stop with the "spin city" routine, highlighting East and West's rank among New York State schools. Once again, at $20,000 per capita per student both East and West should be in the Top 10 statewide. A ranking of 54th and 76th for West and East respectively doesn't make the grade. With the help of the 4 Long Island districts that finished in the top 100 NATIONWIDE, the district should set a goal to be in the Top 100 NATIONWIDE WITHIN THE NEXT 5 YEARS. Now that is something everybody can rally around.
smithtownmom May 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I agree, set a goal to be in the Top 100....Commack is definitely doing something right? In the meantime, bashing the current accomplishments of the school district is NOT motivating to the students/teacher/community! Ken - your earlier post stated "Breathalyzers could very well punish children who test very low on the breathalyzer scale. On the flip side, it the school tests a student who shows a low blood-alcohol ratio (neither impaired or intoxicated) and allows him to drive, what is the school's responsibility if the student gets into a serious accident.?" wouldn't the fact that ANY ratio which indicates alchohol was consumed be a violation of the law for any person under the age of 21? why would the student then be allowed to drive? This whole proposal, if approved, will hopefully give students "food for thought" before making a bad choice. They are, however, free to make that choice but must then be willing to accept the consequences.
Ken Heard May 22, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Smihtown Mom: Rigid prohibition transforms alcohol into the Forbidden Fruit. Strict prohibition against any consumption of alcohol prior to age 21 makes makes it all that more desirable. As already noted, children in Europe drink wine with their parents at dinner. A little wine every now and then with dinner takes the aura away from alcohol. and leads children to covet it less. With regards to breathalyzers, leave this device with the police. There are just too mny legal problems that might haunt the district. Finally, I have not heard a single voice on the BOE backing what both you and I feel is a good idea -set a 5 year goal to be in the top 100 nationwide. Such a goal could be a unifying factor in the community and motivate teachers, students and parents alike. I did not bash the district when I criticized their spin city strategy. I just stated what I saw.
scsddad May 23, 2012 at 07:13 PM
With the breathalyzer test can you get a false positive. If you can what is the districts liability. Can the district be sued for embarrassing the student.

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