(CN) – A Rhode Island high school is considering mandatory breathalyzer tests for students who attend school dances, and is withholding information about it on the bogus claim of pending litigation, a newspaper and the ACLU claim in Providence Superior Court. The newspaper says the Barrington School Committee claims it can protect information on “litigation,” but “there was no litigation pending or threatened. There was not even a specific policy in place that could have been challenged through litigation.”
The Barrington Times and its corporate parent, Phoenix-Times Publishing, and the ACLU sued the school committee and its five members. The Rhode Island ACLU already had objected to the proposed breathalyzer testing. The minutes of the public portion of the meeting state: “A lengthy discussion took place regarding whether or not to make breathalyzer testing mandatory at high school dances for all students. … Much input was given by members of the audience with regard to the pros and cons of this initiative.”
Plaintiffs say the school board then met in executive session to discuss the mandatory breathalyzer policy, and sealed its minutes of the discussion. That’s illegal, under the state Open Meetings law, the newspaper says. It says that at the time of the executive session, “no litigation was threatened or possible.” It wants to see the minutes and it wants the school board ordered not to hold such a secret discussion again.
The plaintiffs are represented by Howard Merton with Partridge, Snow & Hahn.