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Teacher, school board member on probation for third DUI

Sat., Feb. 15, 2014

An East Valley School District board member is serving two years probation for his third drunken-driving offense since 1988.

Mitchell G. Jensen, 51, is also a middle school teacher in Spokane Public Schools.

He spent one night in Spokane County Jail after his arrest last June. A judge sentenced him late last month to also pay a $941 fine and perform 16 hours of community service.

Jensen, a math interventionist at Chase Middle School, says he feels stupid and admits he shouldn’t have been driving after drinking.

Since the arrest, “I haven’t had a drink,” he said. He declined to put an interlock device in his car. “I could drive, but I chose not to,” he said.

Jensen was 26 when he committed his first offense. The second time, in 1994, he was cited after someone crashed into his car. When he was pulled over in June, Jensen’s blood-alcohol level was 0.14, almost twice the legal limit.

Jensen has served on the East Valley School District board since 2007. That district is now divided over a decision to move to a K-8 structure.

The school board cannot ask Jensen to step down. “The only thing the board can do is sanction the individual, but we haven’t had a discussion on it,” said Mike Novakovich, board chairman. “It’s one of those things we are letting him figure out how he wants to deal with it.”

Spokane Public Schools is aware of Jensen’s conviction. It’s not a firing offense, said district spokesman Kevin Morrison. “He will likely receive a no-drive order and possibly some counseling,” Morrison said.

Jensen feels his conviction is not a matter that should be publicized, he said. “It’s something my family and I are working through.”

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