Colleen Bowman, former coordinator of the district's Human Resources Department, presented the board with the proposed policy change during a work session Tuesday at Naschitti Elementary School.
Policy prohibits employees from possessing or consuming alcohol while on the clock in the district's 17 schools or dozens of facilities, but it does not govern what employees do on their own time, in their own homes.
The problem, Bowman said, is that all district-owned housing rented to employees is on the Navajo Nation, where alcohol is prohibited in any form.
"The change to the policy would prohibit alcohol or illegal drugs to be possessed or consumed on school property," she said. Employees possessing alcohol are "violating Navajo Nation law by transporting it onto the reservation."
The policy change would bring the district into alignment with state standards, Bowman said. The New Mexico School Board Association reviews policies and advises districts to adopt changes.
"When we get a policy advisory pamphlet, we read through it," Bowman said. "We look at the model policy developed under legal review, we look at what we have and see if we're aligned with it."
Nancy Sheehan, leader of the district's teachers union, the Central Consolidated Education Association, asked the board to delay review of the policy change, calling the timing "inappropriate."
"The concern we have is that we feel it is inappropriate at this time," she said. "There is a grievance in front of the board on this issue. We'd like you to consider this once that issue is resolved."
Policy changes go into effect only after the board has reviewed and approved them during an open meeting. Board members will vote on this change at a later meeting.
The proposed change was one of six Bowman presented to the board Tuesday.
Other proposed changes include a word change in the district's mission statement and revisions to the district's policies on graduation requirements, comprehensive health requirements, family life education and admission of homeless students.