FAIRBANKS (AP) The Fairbanks North Star School Board has changed its drug and alcohol policy after a lawsuit was filed over it.
The new policy, approved Tuesday, increases the penalty for having alcohol or other drugs at school, but decreases the punishment for refusing to take a urinalysis.
The changes come after a North Pole High School student and his father sued the district over its policy, claiming that its use of rapid eye exams and orders for urinalysis are a breach of the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
The student was expelled for 90 days for refusing to submit to a urine test, but that penalty was later reduced to five days.
An attorney hired by the district had said the disparity between the penalty for refusing to be tested and the penalty for possession of drugs was probably too great to withstand legal scrutiny.
The penalty for first-time use or possession of drugs was just a five-day suspension.
The board voted Tuesday to increase that, so that first-time offenses for possession of alcohol or other drugs will warrant a ten-day suspension, instead of five days.
And the board voted to lower the 90-day penalty for refusing to be tested. Now the penalty for refusing a test will mirror that for possessing drugs.
Superintendent Ann Shortt said she talked to principals about the tougher penalty for first-time offenders.
''They really felt that five days was not enough,'' Shortt said.
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