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22 July 2005

In Or Out, Up Or Down...


ake the test, don't take the test... Life is full of choices and 79 year old Francis Light obviously made the wrong choice, I suppose. Francis has been the crossing guard at the Oak Forest Elementary school here in Houston for over 16 years... that is until he was recently fired. What would cause poor Francis to get fired: job performance? Nope. Absenteeism? Nope, maybe Lateness? Nope. He was fired from his position because he refused to take a mandatory drug test.

"It hit me the wrong way. I'm old, old-fashioned. School's out, and here I am going on 80, why do they want to take drug test on me?" Light said his system is clean, and after so many loyal years on the job, he was insulted.

"I got to think as long as people know me, long as I've been doing this, then they want me to take a drug test kind of made me mad," he said. An HISD spokesman said all employees are subject to random tests.

"We go the extra step of having them sign the form, acknowledging that they understand that," said Terry Abbott, an HISD spokesman. Light signed the form, but did not read the fine print.

Some in the community are uniting with Light, saying he did more than just escort kids across the street. He was even nominated by some of the children in a contest for heroes.

"He's the only one with loving touch. He knows you by name," said Kenneth Bonte, a student. Parents said they would miss Light's presence at the school intersection.

"It sounds like there was a misunderstanding. He should've been handled possibly more gently," said Vonda Bonte, a mother. "He's as much a part of the school as teachers are," said Ann Zallar, a mother.

Light said he should have just submitted to the drug-alcohol test, but said there are no hard feelings. He said that he will be turning 80 years old soon and he was considering retiring anyway. Light just did not want it to end like this.

HISD considers all refusals to take the drug-alcohol test as a positive test. It requires employees to submit to the tests immediately. The district has a policy to terminate all employees who refuse to take the test.

Observations and Questions
I agree on zero tolerance 99% of the time, but there are SOME cases that should be looked at twice. Is this a case that should have been treated differently? Would a note from his Doctor be sufficient?

Birth Announcements and Death Notices

In 1940, Alex Trebek, born in Sudbury Ontario, TV game host (Jeopardy) and in the death notices we have John Dillinger (gangster) shot dead in 1934 at the Biograph Theater in Chicago.

Gentle Reminder of the Day

Time is running out!! Get your picture to me so I can hang it in the Picture Gallery!

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