Butte school trustees were uncomfortable Monday changing district policy to allow art, chemistry or welding teachers to be subject to drug testing similar to that required of bus drivers.
The board tabled a proposal that would have added any employee working in a hazardous environment to be subject to drug testing. Trustees heard a complaint from Mike Kujawa, a Butte High art teacher and president of the Butte Teachers' Union, that the rule would have segregated some teachers for extra scrutiny.
"If it's going to affect 10 teachers out of 300 teachers, we don't feel that's fair," Kujawa said during a board meeting.
The board in updating policies for Butte teachers and staff considered the change. Bus and commercial drivers are already subject to drug and alcohol testing under district rules.
Therese McClafferty, human resources director, said the district would like to have the ability to do post-accident drug testing for teachers and staff who work in a hazardous setting. That would include teachers working with chemicals, such as chemistry and art, as well as welding instructors.
But the proposal drew scrutiny from several board members. They agreed with Kujawa that it would divide the teachers into categories.
"Is there going to be a list identifying who falls under that?" trustee Scott Ferguson said. "How will somebody know?"
And Rayelynn Connole asked why the district wouldn't make the policy apply to all teachers.
"We're kind of grouping people in a way I don't think we want to," she said.
The board decided to send the proposal back to the policy committee for further consideration.
Reporter Nick Gevock may be reached at email@example.com.
Teachers won't administer
In another policy, the Butte school trustees on Monday dropped language giving teachers the responsibility to administer alcohol sensors to
students suspected of drinking at school or extra curricular activities.
The board had concerns last month that it would require teachers to confront drunken students and could jeopardize their safety.
Superintendent Linda Reksten said the district already uses such sensors but they're given by police and the language would keep it that way.
"This will address the concern that one of our employees will be administering the device," she said of the change.
Reporter Nick Gevock may be reached at nick.gevock@mtstandard.