NY School District Finds Little Support for Breathalyzing Students

A New York school district has found virtually no support for its plan to breathalyze students at schools and school events.

At a Nyack School District board meeting Tuesday, parent after parent spoke out against the plan, which could put their children through a very grownup test.

“I don’t see the purpose in doing these breathalyzers,” parent Meryl Hirsch said.

“You don’t have to do this,” another parent said. “This is just the wrong thing to do.”

Some parents say their kids have likened the move to the NYPD’s practice of stop-and-frisk.

“Is the next stop to conduct blood tests, urine tests?” asked another parent. “When does it become too invasive?”

District administrators say the proposal, which has been on the table for months, would help ensure the safety of their students.

The district would be the first in Rockland County to adopt such a plan, which allows teachers and administrators in the district to give breathalyzer tests to students suspected of drinking at district schools and events.

“It’s not because we don’t trust you, it’s because we want to keep you safe,” Superintendent James Montesano said.

Administrators hoped the policy would deter students from drinking, but they’ve received so much feedback that the proposal has been revised five times already. Students are making their voices heard along with parents.

“I feel like all the policy’s going to do is create a profound sense of distrust between students and the administration,” Nyack High School senior Sasha Cohen said.

At least one student supports the plan. One junior at Nyack High School, who didn’t want to give her name, said drugs and alcohol are a problem at the school and she welcomes the tests.

“I don’t know why kids are showing up drunk here,” she said. “They shouldn’t be doing that at all.”

School board members didn’t vote on the issue Tuesday and are continuing to ask for feedback from parents and students.

No date has been set for a vote on the proposal.

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