School board meeting on plan to give students Breathalyzer test in Nyack

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Joe Torres is reporting live in Nyack

A Rockland County school district debated a plan Tuesday to allow schools to administer a Breathalyzer test if they think a student is drunk in the classroom or at a school function.

Similar plans have generated a lot of controversy, and Nyack could implement what would be the first of its kind in the county. Hundreds of people turned out for the contentious meeting.

The Breathalyzer test could be given at events like football games and dances, an unwelcome possibility for many students.

"I just don't really want it, to be honest," student Kyle Palmer said. "I like to get lit. I'm not gonna lie."

It is a frank admission over the tests, which could be administered to students who exhibit signs or behavior indicating they have been drinking.

"Slurred speech, staggering," Nyack superintendent Jim Montesano said. "If they're demonstrating abnormal, jovial type of behavior."

The proposal originally listed "flushed face" as one of the tell-tale signs, but students took issue with that and raised a red flag.

"We talked through the policy, and some of those symptoms, such as flushed face, I mean they're common at a football game," student Hunter Andrasko said. "We're all packed together tightly anyway, so they decided to get rid of that."

Administrators have examined the policy proposal since October, and they admit parents have expressed both support and opposition. Jeanette Dailey has three teenagers at the high school.

"I know if my kids were coming home and they were telling me that they got caught drinking at school, I'd be very upset," she said. "I think that could be a good deterrent."

Others expressed more trepidation.

"The civil libertarian in me thinks that you have to be careful when you step down this path, but I love the district," parent Jen Laird-White said. "I have confidence in the district."

Some students pointed out that while it might stop them from drinking at school functions, it would do little to curb teen drinking in general.

"Personally, I just think it's going to restrain people from coming to the event if they are getting drunk," student Justin Marraccino said. "So I just think that the attendance at some of the games are going to decline due to this."

The plan has yet to be voted on.
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