Candidate for School Board has DUI record

Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Background searches on municipal election candidates revealed that Juneau School Board candidate Mary Marks pleaded no contest to a drunken-driving charge in October 2005 while serving on the Anchorage School Board.

"It was the ultimate stupid error to have made," Marks said at the time. "I don't feel good about it."

Marks served two terms on the Anchorage School Board. She did not return multiple phone calls Monday.

While in Fairbanks for the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, Marks was arrested on Oct. 22, 2005, for driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .130, over the legal limit of .08. She told the Anchorage Daily News that she wrongly believed she was sober enough to drive after a night of dancing with friends.

Elected to the board in 2002, Marks apologized to the seven-member board at a Nov. 14, 2005, meeting, after which they accepted her apology and decided she would stay.

According to the Anchorage School Board's minutes, Marks "apologized to those present, the Board, the District and the Community, asking for forgiveness for her recent DWI. She noted that her behavior was unacceptable and should not be tolerable."

"We do have a zero tolerance policy with disciplinary action attached to it for students and staff," said Carol Comeau, then superintendent of Anchorage schools. "We don't have that for our elected school board."

The board said they verbally reprimanded her, and board President Jeff Friedman said legally that's all they could do.

At the Nov. 14, 2005, meeting, Marks told the board she was grateful that policies for students in the district are in place to provide opportunities to correct behavior and make better choices. Then-school board member Macon Roberts thanked Marks for her apology.

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