Pubdate: Wed, 25 Sep 2002
Source: Pensacola News Journal (FL)
Copyright: 2002 The Pensacola News Journal
Author:  Helen A. Daley


I'm ashamed of the Escambia School District and board. Yes, the teacher who 
used cocaine committed an inexcusable act, but this situation should have 
been handled privately and within the law. Instead, I have watched the 
superintendent and board misuse the media to whip up a frenzy and humiliate 
a man.

Someone had to tell the News Journal whose personnel file to request. 
Someone had to call all those media outlets to tell them every time a 
hearing was scheduled. Someone had to decide that he himself was without 
sin and was entitled to cast the first stone - privately, publicly and on 
national TV.

This issue is contractual, as has been reported, but it's also legal. The 
law in the state of Florida is clear: No state employee can be fired on a 
first positive drug test UNLESS (s)he refuses rehabilitation.

This teacher didn't refuse rehabilitation. The district apparently became 
furious at having to obey the law and turned this tragic situation into a 
circus, whipping up partisan feelings and, as a side effect, ruining a 
man's and a family's life.

Zero tolerance equals zero thinking. I wish this superintendent would try 
thinking instead of posturing. We'd all be better off.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens