Abandon plans for Random Drug Testing at the Northern Valley High Schools
  • Petitioned John Schettino
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

President, Northern Valley Board of Education
John Schettino
See response
Vice President, Northern Valley Board of Education
Louis DeLisio
Member, Northern Valley Board of Education
Leonard Albanese
Member, Northern Valley Board of Education
Marilyn Coats-Thomas
Member, Northern Valley Board of Education
Alice Comer
Member, Northern Valley Board of Education
Kathleen Fable
Member, Northern Valley Board of Education
Maria Kim
Member, Northern Valley Board of Education
John Passalacqua
Member, Northern Valley Board of Education
Ronald Schwartzman
Superintendent, Northern Valley Regional High School
Dr. Christopher J. Nagy
School Business Administrator
Joanette Femia

Abandon plans for Random Drug Testing at the Northern Valley High Schools

    1. Amy Heller
    2. Petition by

      Amy Heller

      Harrington Park, NJ

  1.  
  2.   
February 2014

Victory

Amy Heller: On January 27, 2014 the Northern Valley Board of Education voted 5-4 against Mandatory Random Student Drug Testing! After seven months of public outcry and debate, the issue is dead in our school district.

The Board of Education is pushing through a controversial policy without first thoroughly investigating the problem or allowing public debate. The effectiveness of Mandatory Random Drug Testing of high school students has been debunked in many studies and may not be the right plan for our region. We fear that students will experience these Random Drug Tests as a stressful and embarrassing invasion of privacy, undermining the spirit of collegiality and scholarship that both schools have long fostered.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Superintendent Nagy's 1/9/14 Presentation on RDT was slanted and inaccurate

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      Though the district promoted the policy through the presentation, many students and parents said they were disappointed by the quality of the presentation, calling it biased and "propaganda" for an RDT policy.

      "I felt a lot of this information in this presentation was outdated, from 2005 and 2004," said Cory Weintraub, a Northern Valley student. "If it was more recent information, there would be a different picture of the student body."

      Cheryl Philip of Closter said the presentation was missing scientific data that debunks the effectiveness of an RDT policy.

      "This is not the way to do it and it is so irresponsible to put all this effort into random drug testing when there has been proven scientific data that it does not work," she said. "It’s really disappointing and really a terrible example for these children."

      Heba Arshad, a senior at Demarest, said even the possibility of implementing such a policy has created a detrimental atmosphere in the district."

      Northern Valley Regional district unveils drug testing plan

      DEMAREST - Parents and high school students in the Northern Valley school community displayed mixed emotions when the district unveiled its proposed random drug testing policy at a public hearing on Jan. 9. Superintendent Christopher Nagy said the district was looking at comprehensive and effective drug prevention in the school district as the common goal, which would also include the controversial RDT policy.

    2. VICTORY in Parents' Lawsuit to See Public Records!

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      Northern Valley parents had to SUE the Board of Education to get access to the documents the members were using to justify Random Student Drug Testing--and WON!. This editorial in the Bergen Record notes: "It's great that the data will now be released, but it's a shame that it took a court fight for the district to do it."

      The Record: Total transparency

      WHEN ELECTED officials communicate among themselves about government business, those conversations are public. In most instances, government records and reports are as well. While that's the law, it's always important for courts to uphold it when governing bodies fall short of the transparency they're obligated to meet.

    3. Students protest Northern Valley Regional speaking policy

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      The Suburbanite's Marc Lightdale has written a wonderful recap of the surreal world of the Northern Valley Board of Education, where hand-picked student leaders are invited to spend four nights a month (plus prep time) at meetings only to find that if they want to talk about the most pressing issue in the school, Mandatory Random Student Drug Testing: "the policy for student representatives would have students talk with their principals first, and the principals would then relay their concerns to the superintendent, who in turn would share the information with the board. If the board has any questions about a student concern, they tell the superintendent who gets back to the principal, who then talks with the student representative, who is only then allowed to bring the information up as part of the regular report. "

      Students protest Northern Valley Regional speaking policy

      DEMAREST €' Scores of Northern Valley Regional High School students crowded the Demarest school's media center on Nov. 25 to voice their opposition to a proposed policy that would prevent the two student representatives from speaking out directly on contentious issues, such as random drug testing, without first going through an administrative acceptance process.

    4. BOE tries to silence the Student Reps... Hear them VOICE their concerns!

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      Our apologies for not posting this AMAZING and inspirational video from the last Board of Education meeting sooner. This meeting was STANDING ROOM ONLY (literally) and was attended by DOZENS of students wearing gags to represent the superintendent and the BOE's decision to silence the student representatives. And although they were NOT permitted to report as board reps, student leaders Lauren Wright and Heba Arshad's terms expired that night and both stood up and spoke bravely and eloquently. If you have limited time, we recommend you skip ahead to running time 1:25:00 to hear Heba tell the Board that "an overwhelming majority of the students in this district from both schools does NOT support RDT!... People feel like their rights are being violated... The school population, the school environment is not being helped... People call this administration a prison, a fascist regime."
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmugG6aYGJ4

      Northern Valley Regional High School Board of Education Meeting. Nov. 25, 2013

      Another round with the BoE, this time whether it's appropriate to allow the two student representatives to the BoE freedom speech or only with the approval of the BoE and the Superintendent. Is there a wonder that the community distrusts the board with this kind of controlling, mindless attempt at silencing student viewpoints?

    5. Bergen Record article on the WHOLE Northern Valley situation...

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      Northern Valley parents want drug-test documents

      Resorting to court action, some Northern Valley Regional High School parents are nearing their goal of finding out what information district leaders are using to justify random drug testing of students at the two high schools. Those parents have vehemently argued that officials are single-mindedly pursuing a policy that lacks evidence of success.

    6. CAN THE NVRHS BOARD OF EDUCATION BE TRUSTED? IT’S NOT JUST RDT ANYMORE!

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      In the last week there have been some very troubling developments regarding the NVRHS BOE, which extend well beyond the current RDT controversy.

      At the last Board meeting on October 14, President John Schettino acknowledged that he had sought to have the extended policy committee vote to approve a draft policy (which they had worked on for only 10 days) and that he had intended to present the draft to the Board that night.

      Mr. Schettino’s statement demonstrates his disregard for the motion by board member John Paasalaqua, passed on September 23, to “table review of any RDT policy, not to be considered by the full board until after its reorganization in January.” When board attorney Yaacov Brisman sought to reframe the motion to prevent only a board vote, Mr. Passalaqua clearly corrected him, stating that the motion was to not even read the policy to the full board before January. Despite efforts by Mr. Schettino

      Northern Valley BoE Vote 09.23.13

      Motion to vote on RDT after January 1, 2014

    7. NY Times weighs in on Mandatory Random Drug Testing in NV Schools

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      We are so proud of our kids who had the courage to stand up to a hostile board of education and assert their rights as students and people!

      Drug Testing in Schools Divides North Jersey District

      DEMAREST, N.J. - Jason Baretz wore a striped convict's outfit as he addressed a group at Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest on a recent Monday evening. The get-up was a costume, but Jason, 16 and a junior at Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan, the district's other high school, was not acting in a school play.

    8. Our parents are TV stars!

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      Channel 7 WABC news came to Demarest to meet with parents who are opposing Mandatory Random Drug Testing in the Northern Valley High Schools and also with superintendent Dr. Nagy. A small clarification: the suit mentioned is actually an OPRA (Open Public Records Act) suit to force the BOE to turn over public records that it failed to provide when the parents first requested them this summer.

      Parents outraged by drug testing plan in New Jersey | Video | 7online

      Parents outraged by drug testing plan in New Jersey

    9. Fight for transparency continues... in the courts

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      Our area's excellent news radio channel WCBS 880 broadcast this report on the efforts of a group of parents to shine some light on the process the Board of Education has pursued in their relentless drive to impose Mandatory Random Drug Testing in our excellent schools!

      Northern NJ Parents File Lawsuit Over Plans For Random School Drug Testing

      DEMAREST, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A lawsuit has been filed against the Northern Valley Regional Board of Education as the school board mulls whether to allow random drug testing of students. As WCBS 880′s Levon Putney reported, a lot of parents of students in Northern Valley Regional schools do not like the idea of random drug testing for different reasons.

    10. Repost the video of the 9/23 BOE meeting

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      Ah, technical difficulties... but here is that 4+ hour meeting for all to enjoy. The presentations at the beginning by Dr. Shelia Rathbun of Kansas and NJ's own Roseanne Scotti are wonderful!

      Northern Valley Regional High School BoE Meeting September 23, 2013

      A shaft of light in vacuum moves through the universe at a rate of 671 million miles an hour. An entire community getting shafted by just a few members of a Board of Education takes about five hours.

    11. A LONG video of a very long BOE meeting 9/23/13

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      It clocks in at more than four hours--thanks to our stalwart camerman! And features great presentations on the faults and dangers of Random Student Drug Testing by Dr. Shelia Rathbun and Roseanne Scotti.

      Northern Valley Regional High School BoE Meeting, Sept. 23, 2013

      A shaft of light in vacuum moves through the universe at a rate of 671 million miles an hour. An entire community getting shafted by just a few members of a Board of Education takes about five hours.

    12. Another excellent article from the NV Press's Malcolm Herbert!

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      "Since June, parents concerned with the board’s plan to draft a random drug testing policy have packed into board meetings, most of them speaking adamantly against the idea."

      Discourse on random drug tests in the Northern Valley continues as board brings in expert RDT opponents and one trustee comes under fire for Facebook post

      NORTHERN VALLEYBy audio conference from Maize, Kan., educator Dr. Shelia Rathbun warned of the unanticipated negative effects random drug testing policies can have on high school students."When fear predominates, underground resistance emerges," she said.This is how Rathbun, director of secondary curriculum and career and technical education and former Vice Principal and Principal in the Maize,...

    13. Northern Valley Press's Malcolm Herbert's excellent reporting on the BOE!

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer
      Discourse on random drug tests in the Northern Valley continues as board brings in expert RDT opponents and one trustee comes under fire for Facebook post

      NORTHERN VALLEYBy audio conference from Maize, Kan., educator Dr. Shelia Rathbun warned of the unanticipated negative effects random drug testing policies can have on high school students."When fear predominates, underground resistance emerges," she said.This is how Rathbun, director of secondary curriculum and career and technical education and former Vice Principal and Principal in the Maize,...

    14. BoE member Kathy Fable's comments draw fire from the Record editors

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      "Kathy Fable is a Northern Valley Regional High School District board member and last month she posted on a closed forum on Facebook that parents objecting to the board’s proposed random drug-testing policy at the high school smoke marijuana with their children. Fable should at the least apologize publicly to all Northern Valley Regional parents. The board should apologize to parents and pass a motion condemning Fables’ remarks."

      The Record: A bad Fable

      SOMETIMES a fable can be instructional. Think Aesop. Sometimes a Fable can be wrong. Think Kathy. Kathy Fable is a Northern Valley Regional High School District board member and last month she posted on a closed forum on Facebook that parents objecting to the board's proposed random drug-testing policy at the high school smoke marijuana with their children.

    15. The Bergen Record account of a most momentous BOE meeting...

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      Writer, Zach Patberg stayed to the bitter end but filed this report before the final, nail-biting moments of an incredibly long and disheartening BOE meeting. Around midnight, the Board voted not to review at any Random Drug Testing policy before January 2014 (effectively ruling out testing this school year).
      But it failed to pass motions to consider a broader, more integrated anti-substance abuse policy that could include random testing.
      Also missing is any discussion of the fact that several parents and kids who have been opposing RDT for months came forward to call out two BOE members for spreading vicious rumors and lies about them. Two students told about being asked in school if their parents allowed them to use drugs--stemming from these Board members' actions (one even posted on Facebook and denied it until a screenshot of her posting was handed to her).
      Let's hope there will be a follow up. And maybe even an apology to these kids from the Board of Miseducation.

      Outside experts share anti-testing views on Northern Valley drug-policy debate

      DEMAREST - A pair of drug-policy and educational experts on Monday night reinforced the arguments of hundreds of parents fighting to prevent the Northern Valley Regional High School District from randomly drug testing its students.

    16. Excellent news reporting from Malcolm T. Herbert in Northern Valley Press

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      Malcolm T. Herbert of the Northern Valley Press is doing a great job following the fight against Random Drug Testing in the Northern Valley District. He even gives a shout out to this petition site! If you are interested in keeping up with the latest, check out: http://mthpressgroup.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/update-on-random-drug-testing-in-the-northern-valley-district/

    17. Schools back, and the students are teaching the Board of Education!

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      For those you who have despaired about "young people," check out two amazingly brave and eloquent high school students who taught the Northern Valley Board of Education a lot about the real meaning and cost of Mandatory Random Drug Testing--in a mere five minutes! Congratulations to Mikala Nuccio and Anna Zwirn, students at Northern Valley Demarest. (Oh, and the cameraman was my 17-year-old son Adam Doros, a senior at Northern Valley Old Tappan ). And please, mark your calendars: the next BOE meeting is Monday September 23, 7:30 at NVD (150 Knickerbocker Road, Demarest, NJ) and COME!

      An amazing demonstration against Random Drug Testing at the Northern Valley Regional High School!

      Over the summer, when the students are not in school, the Northern Valley Regional High Schools (Old Tappan and Demerest, New Jersey) Board of Education passed a resolution to write a policy for Random Mandatory Drug Testing. Well, the students are back and they are proving that they are getting a very good education despite the BoE.

    18. Progress, we think!

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      It is a treat to be able to report some good news from last night's Board of Education meeting. Thanks to some strong and eloquent advocacy by a number of board members, including Ron Schwartzman, Len Albanese, John Passalacqua, Maria Kim and Marilyn Coats-Thomas, the BOE is moving forward to invite a qualified professional speaker present both the most EFFECTIVE programs to curb substance abuse and to refute Christina Steffner's claims about RDT at the August 26 meeting. Other highlights of the meeting were the comments of two students reps from NVOT and NVD and a wonderful "question" from another NVD student. The young woman pulled the names of several board members out of paper bag and after identifying them, handed each a sample cup. She made the point that being asked to produce anything as personal as one's urine is, at best, rather uncomfortable. Kudos!

    19. Northern Valley Press coverage of BOE Meeting

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      "Parents lined up by the dozen to voice their opposition, many of the regulars at these meetings among them. Of the more than 20 residents who spoke, not one supported RDT [actually one parent did]...

      Two students also spoke out against RDT. Rachel Abolafia, a Harrington Park resident and an incoming senior at Old Tappan, stated that she felt “guilty trying to be proven innocent.” Adam Doros, also of Harrington Park, was concerned that students were unaware of RDT.

      “I feel like it’s not right for the board to draft a policy that’s going to affect the students this much when the students don’t even know it’s happening, let alone have a say in it,” Doros said. “We need to have our voices heard when it comes to our own bodies … we’re the ones being affected.”

      Board brings in expert, vocal parents stand against random drug testing

      DEMAREST The Aug. 26 meeting of the Northern Valley Regional High School District's Board of Education stuck to the recurring themes of crowdedness, contention, and lengthiness. In the fourth consecutive board meeting that saw the clock strike midnight, parents arrived at the Demarest campus to voice their complaints about the board's ongoing drafting of a...

    20. Our Constitutional Rights to Petition Elected Official

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      First, thanks so much to all who have signed this petition. And for those who are sympathetic with our cause, but may feel uncomfortable adding their names to a public document, I thought it might be helpful to post the language that guarantees each citizen's right to petition.

      In the US Constitution, the first amendment in the Bill of Rights: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

      And in the NJ Constitution, Article 1, Section 18: "The people have the right freely to assemble together, to consult for the common good, to make known their opinions to their representatives, and to petition for redress of grievances."

      And we all know that the best way to preserve our rights is to exercise them!

      Researching Constitutional Law on the Internet

      La Constitution des États-Unis d'Amérique = The Constitution of the United States of America in various foreign languages, French (Washington, D.C., U.S.A. : Law Library, Library of Congress, 1987)(reprint of the translation of the constitution and amendments from Constitutions et documents politiques (Paris : Presses universitaires de France, 1968). 19p.

    21. Suburbanite covers RDT advocate Chris Steffner Presentation to the BOE

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      The article is fair, but fails to capture how STRONGLY the opponents of the policy were in objecting to Steffner's many misrepresentations. One questioner confronted the BOE with info about the way pharmaceutical giant Roche helped pay to bring RDT to Steffner's high school. The evening ended on a particularly chilling note. When asked if the board would guarantee that there would be NO RETRIBUTION against faculty, staff and administrators on the RDT Policy Committee, the board attorney intervened and said that the board would not answer the question. Apparently this controversial policy is more important continuing the school's unbroken tradition of excellent leadership.

      Hunterdon Central Regional superintendent discusses random drug testing with Northern Valley Regional residents, officials

      DEMAREST - With growing opposition to possibly implementing a random drug testing (RDT) policy at Northern Valley Regional High School, the Board of Education invited Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington to speak on its struggles and successes of having a similar policy for over a decade.

    22. Another Northern Valley BOE meeting--another chance to be heard!

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      We hope that you will find time to attend the Board of Education meeting on Monday night August 26, 2013 at 7:30 at Northern Valley Demarest (50 Knickerbocker Road).

      The BOE is already setting up a committee to draft a policy statement with a view toward implementing drug testing starting in January 2014!

      The Monday meeting will feature presenter Dr. Christina Steffner, Superintendent of Hunterdon Central Regional High School District who has traveled the country touting the value of RDT. But there should be time for concerned parents, kids and neighbors to offer evidence debunking the value of RDT, voice opinions and ask questions.

      This is such an important issue for both current and future students of the Northern Valley high schools and for the communities that send kids to these schools. Please join us, and bring your teens, friends and other interested people.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Northern_Valley_Regional_High_School_at_Demarest.jpg

    23. A shout out to Harrington Park residents!

      Amy Heller
      Petition Organizer

      If you happen to be lucky enough to live in lovely HP, I hope you will consider coming out to tonight's meeting of the Mayor and Council (8.15.13 at 7:00 in the Municipal Building at 85 Harriott). We will be presenting this petition and urging the town to join Closter, Haworth and Demarest in opposing Mandatory Random Student Drug Testing at the Northern Valley High Schools at Old Tappan and Demarest. Please come if you can! Thanks.

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • 10 months ago

      My Ex-tenant takes and sells drugs and he is a dangerous man and stalker!

      The Most Dangerous Drugs In The World!

      Like Ecstasy and methamphetamine, the drug known as “bath salts” is a designer drug, which means it’s synthetic, concocted in a lab. (On the street, it’s also sometimes called “bath powder,” “herbal incense,” or “plant food.”). What makes the term “bath salts” more confusing, though, is that name is used for a surprisingly large number of different chemical combinations. But the drug also apparently causes paranoid delusions and/or hallucinations. Experts are saying it’s psychoactive, rather than hallucinogenic like acid, but the end result appears to be similar: delusional beliefs acted upon in violent ways.

      Benzodiazepines

      This drug is psychoactive in nature and is used to treat problems of depression mostly. The action of this drug becomes dangerous when it is used in excess. The exact action of the drug on the nervous system is known with certainty and the specialists assert that it can cause many side effects. For example, slurred speech, drowsiness and severe depression and dependency.

      Crystal Meth

      This is yet another drug which acts as a stimulant and was indeed a great invention in the field psycho pharmacology. It also acts in suppressing one’s appetite. The action and the effects of this drug become dangerous to one’s health when it is used for recreational purposes. The common effects are dizziness, visual impairment, ADHD and restlessness.

      Ketamine

      This drug is a very powerful drug that can cause hallucinations and even paranoia. It has a number of effects on the human body including anesthesia, visual and auditory hallucinations and blood pressure problems. It has been reported for a number of recreational uses and in addiction.

      Street Methadone

      This drug has been reported as a form of an opiate drug. Its acts as an agonist in the nervous system and it also effects heavily on the neurotransmitters which are released in the human brain. The overdose of this drug can cause pneumonia, Hepatitis, and even a number of psychological disorders. The respiratory depressions and actions it causes can even cause death.

      Cocaine

      This drug is indeed a very dangerous drug which is known all around the world as the slow killer. This drug influences a number of neurotransmitters at the same time and is extremely dangerous to the nervous functioning of the brain. It is has been banned in many countries due to the number of deaths it has caused.

      Opiates

      Street names include Codeine, China White, Ddarvon, Darvocet, Demerol, dilaudid, heroin, methadone, Morphine, Percocet, Percodan, Talwin, and Vicodin. According to the United States Library of Medicine, many prescription drugs are characterized as opiates. Morphine is an opiate often legally prescribed to alleviate chronic pain; however, due to its addictive nature, it is administered in hospital settings. Other legally prescribed opiates include codeine, methadone and Oxycontin. One of the most common illegal opiates is heroin, a more concentrated form of morphine. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America reports that heroin is so addictive that withdrawal symptoms can appear within hours of not using.!

      Heroin

      It is a derivative of opium and is the most dangerous drug responsible of thousands of deaths every year. The tolerance to this drug develops very fast and so the body demands more and more intake of this drug. The fatal side effects include shortness of breath, seizures, disorientation, abnormal behavior, cycles of knock outs and even the whole brain stops functioning at times leading to sudden death.

      LSD

      LSD produces unpredictable psychological effects, with "trips" lasting about 12 hours. With large enough doses, users experience delusions and hallucinations. Physical effects include increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; sleeplessness; and loss of appetite.

      The Devil’s Breath

      This drug has the power to eliminate free will and wipe out memory and is being dealt with regularly on the streets of Colombia. Scopolamine, or ‘The Devil’s Breath,’ comes from a tree common to South America. Since scopolamine is odorless and tasteless, it can be blown in the face of a passerby on the street and, within minutes, that person is under the drug’s effect. Leaving you hopeless with no free will, making you obey every order you are given.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • alex cooper HAWORTH, NJ
      • 10 months ago

      i am a parent of 2 NV grads. they did great, i am sure the experimented with drugs. the school is not the place to manage these issues. leave up to parents and life lessons as their teachers.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • scott camil GAINESVILLE, FL
      • 11 months ago

      How about random test for Board members. This test should include prescription drugs to see if Board members are taking anything not prescribed for them. Also test to make sure they have not consumed any alcohol before meetings.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • gloria birulin CLOSTER, NJ
      • 11 months ago

      gloria birulin

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Michal Seidenman DEMAREST, NJ
      • 11 months ago

      will overwhelming the student, will create bed environment and emberesmant for the ones that are going to be tested

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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