Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


December 13, 2012

AHS pitching mandatory event breath testing

School Committee to hear proposal tonight, Thursday


If a student receives a positive reading from the test, a second test would be done to ensure the positive reading isn’t a false positive, according to Lord.

If a student tests positive after two readings, his or her parents would be contacted to pick up the student from the event.

Other disciplinary consequences would be issued as outlined in the school’s student handbook. Those consequences include a three-day suspension and completion of two outside family counseling sessions. Student athletes violating the school’s chemical health policy are also subject to rules established by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.

If a student refuses to test, the student’s parents also would be “notified and asked to transport the student from the dance/event,” Lord wrote.

Similar programs already are in place in other Massachusetts school districts, including Belmont, Danvers, Hamilton-Wenham and Ipswich, according to Lord.

Those towns “are among some of the communities with longstanding mandatory breathalyzer policies for school dances that report a 100-percent reduction in student alcohol infractions since policy implementation,” he said.

If the pilot program moves forward, after it is completed, the high school’s School Council will decide whether to make a recommendation to the School Committee “supporting and formalizing the breathalyzer policy going forward,” Lord said.

But for Wivell, drinking is not the only issue that needs to be discussed. He said that a crackdown on certain types of dancing has turned away some students from school dances.

“There has been a noted decrease in attendance or signups for the most recent dance to the point that it had to be cancelled,” he said.

The dance he’s referring to is the high school’s annual Holly Ball, previously a popular holiday event at the school.

“The last dance was the first dance where there were chaperones perusing, actively stopping dancing inappropriately,” he said.

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