Teacher drug test barred

Published 12:07 am Saturday, May 30, 2009

BATON ROUGE (AP) — A court settlement Friday will bar a Louisiana school board from requiring teachers to submit to ‘‘suspicionless’’ drug tests after an accident or injury.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit that the American Civil Liberties Union helped bring against the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board on behalf of the local teachers union.

The school board said its policy language didn’t require teachers to submit to drug and alcohol tests after being injured on the job without reasonable suspicion of intoxication. But the district allegedly imposed the tests on some teachers in spite of the written policy.

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‘‘The resolution of this case is a victory for teachers not only in Baton Rouge but around the country,’’ said Adam Wolf, a California-based attorney for the ACLU.

Peggy Reno, a teacher at the parish’s Mohican Education Center, had filed a separate lawsuit that claims she was forced to submit to a drug test after a student punched her last September, even though she wasn’t suspected of drug use.

Yigal Bander, a lawyer for both Reno and the East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers, said he hopes Friday’s settlement prompts the school board to ‘‘fess up to its mistake’’ and also resolve Reno’s case.

A lawyer for the school board didn’t immediately return a call for comment Friday.