NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Ingerman Smith, the outside counsel for the New Rochelle Board of Education had concluded the obvious, that the ban on alcohol on school grounds applies to any and all alcohol in any context for any purpose – where schools grounds is within 1,000 feet of a school.
In response to concerns raised last week by Talk of the Sound after reports surfaced that New Rochelle Board of Education President Amy Moselhi distributed a dozen bottles of Italian sparkling wine to teachers and administrators at Albert Leonard Middle School, Ingerman Smith provided a legal opinion to the Board dated Tuesday January 14th. It was provided to Talk of the Sound on Friday night moments before it was made public.
Code 5165 and Code 1530 described above clearly indicate that, in addition to selling or distributing alcohol, any possession of alcohol is not permissible on the District’s school grounds. With this guidance, it is cautioned that when giving a gift to a teacher or staff member, gifts in the form of alcoholic beverages should not be given to teachers and staff on school premises. Additionally, you should be aware that a drug-free school zone is considered to be an area within one-thousand (1,000) feet of a private or public school, including nursery, prekindergarten, kindergarten, elementary, intermediate, junior high, vocational, or high school, and child-care facilities, as defined by law.
Notably, it is a recognized longstanding practice that parents provide their child’s teachers and school staff members with sentimental gifts during the holiday season. This practice is commonly carried out by families throughout New York to show their appreciation for the dedication to the education of their children. Specific to the District, it is clear that Board policies welcome the exchange of gifts of limited value from parents and children to staff members that express sentiment and gratitude, subject to the abovementioned limitations. However, gifts containing alcohol may not be delivered by a parent on school premises.