What are a student’s rights regarding being forced to take a breathalyzer?

My son was recently forced to take a breathalyzer or admit to drinking alcohol at a high school event. The was no suspicion of him drinking and he was perfectly normal. The bus that he arrived on had

alcohol and about 50 other kids. He admitted to school authorities that he had a drink because he

was worried the breathalyzer would show a false positive because he has asthma and he had just

used his inhaler. He was then suspended for 3 days.

My question is were his rights violated for not having

reasonable suspicion and should he have been

suspended? This is a private school in NYS.

Asked on December 18, 2017 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

School officials are in loco parentis for minor students--i.e. they stand in for parents and have similar levels of control and authority during the school day or at school functions. So just as a parent could have a child breathalyzed without "reasonable suspicion," so, too, could the school. And schools have considerable discretion about discipline (and private schools even more than public, since there is no "right" to attend private school the way there is to a public school education), which means they could suspend him if they thought it appropriate, subject only to any limitations in the private school contract or agreement you signed in sending him there.


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