Badanes Remains Opposed to Drug Sweeps
Newly elected trustee David Badanes again expressed his opposition to
random drug sweeps at Northport High School during the June 4 BOE meeting, asserting that the use of drug sniffing dogs was not only illegal but ineffective. The district has been as part of a program offered through the Suffolk County Police Department.
Badanes, an attorney, had noted his opposition to the proposed drug sweeps during the forum in May. At the June 4 meeting, he said he believed students do have a reasonable right to expect privacy and was concerned that drugs could be planted in lockers. "I think it sends the wrong tone." He also suggested that the Board table the discussion of the district's locker policy until new Board members are sworn in.
District attorney Chris Powers disagreed with Badanes' arguments, citing New Jersey v. T.L.O., in which the Supreme Court held that student searches are permitted as long as there is reaonable suspicion. A dog "indicating" to a locker during a random drug sweep would be considered reasonable suspicion.
Powers said as long as students are put on notice through the district's student handbook, "It's crystal clear." As for possible lawsuits, he said, "I have had searches that have netted weapons and drugs. I haven't seen any challenges."
Badanes said he was still opposed to the sweeps, which could begin in the fall.
Special Education Report
Director of Special Education Christina Pulaski gave an overview of the program. There are 867 Special Education students in the district, with 765 enrolled in district programs. A PDF of the presentation is attached to this article.
On the State Report Card, Norwood Avenue Elementary School made "adequate yearly progress but with safe harbor" under special education, meaning that the school met the benchmark goal but not the state goal. Pulaski Road did not make AYP.
Both principals expressed frustration with yearly tests. "It's the day-to-day assessments that we go by," Pulaski Principal Jeffrey Haubrich noted.
Norwood Principal Michael Genovese said it was "unfair and unreasonable" to put so much emphasis on annual tests, noting that his staff utilizes NWEA assessments and running records to more accurately determine a student's progress. "We"re talking about each student as an individual." He noted that he had added more staff and smaller group opportunities in response to the state report.