July 25, 2014
970 Route 146, Clifton Park, NY 12065
We are consistently working to help our young
people make good choices. Sometimes, however, adolescents make
mistakes. Some of these mistakes involve alcohol or other drugs.
Recently, a survey of the Suburban Council schools revealed that nine of the 12 suburban high schools use passive alcohol sensors at school events. Eight principals report that since they have begun using these devices no students have been disciplined for being under the influence of alcohol. One high school reported two students under the influence recently. These suburban schools have been using passive alcohol devices for several years.
Beginning this year at certain athletic contests, dances, various other school events and activities and at both the junior and senior proms, these devices will be used as students and their guests attend these events.
The following procedures and explanation will be communicated and added to the Shenendehowa Code of Conduct.
Chaperones/administrators will use passive alcohol devices prior to and /or during selected Shenendehowa High School student events (including but not limited to dances, and after-school social activities) to better determine whether or not a student has consumed alcohol. The passive alcohol device can detect alcohol from a person’s breath as they are speaking and from the ambient air surrounding them. The device uses a platinum electromechanical fuel cell to detect alcohol vapors. It only detects alcohol and not any other substances. Students may be asked to speak into the device as they enter the event. The process should take 15 seconds. This device will be used to check students when they enter a student event and periodically during the event. If a student is determined to be under the influence of alcohol, parents/guardians will be called and disciplinary consequences will be administered according to Board of Education Policy #3410. If at any time a chaperone or monitor suspects a student may be under the influence of alcohol, the student will be removed from the activity and referred to the administrator in charge for assessment and passive alcohol screening. For school day alcohol-related discipline investigations, this device will be used.
The following procedures will be used.
• All students entering selected after-school events, as determined by administration, will be checked with the passive alcohol device as they enter the school event.
• If a positive indication occurs, the student will be asked if they were drinking alcohol. Student belongings and the person will be searched.
• If a student admits to consuming alcohol, he/she will be subject to the discipline procedures outlined by the Board of Education Policy #3410, if reasonable suspicion exists.
• If the student denies consuming alcohol, a breathalyzer may be administered after a screening by a school nurse.
• In all cases parents will be contacted and informed of the school’s concern for their child.
• If a student is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and refuses to be screened and/or breathalyzed, they will be sent home with a parent, and be subject to disciplinary consequences. These consequences may also affect a student’s participation in future events.
• The student will be picked up by the parent or designee, with parental permission.
Some students are consuming alcohol at or before school events. If they understand that they will be easily identified and face school suspension, this will dissuade them from being under the influence or using alcohol at school events. We want students to enjoy their friends and have fond memories of high school. With the intervention we have outlined, it is our hope students will remain safe and avoid tragic events.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.