Francis Light is 79 and a school crossing guard in Houston. He was a little surprised, therefore, when a school official approached him one morning last month and demanded a urine sample.
"I've been doing this school job for about 16 years, and I never heard of anyone taking a drug test, at least the crossing guards," Light told the Houston Chronicle. "Most of us are old people anyways."
He refused to take the test. "About two hours later, when I got back home, they called and told me I was terminated," Light said. "They told me I had 10 days to turn in my equipment--you know, a stop sign, raincoat, stuff like that."
Terry Abbott, spokesman for the Houston Independent School District, said Light should have been prepared for this. "Every employee understands if you refuse the drug or alcohol test, you are automatically terminated," he told the Chronicle. "We cannot allow people who are responsible for children's safety to refuse to take a drug or alcohol test."
Light signed a form acknowledging as much in September. But as he put it: "They give us rules and regulations, and every year they get thicker and thicker. I don't know if I ever read them."
Light, a World War II veteran, said he drank his last beer 51 years ago and has never used illegal drugs. He would have submitted to the drug test, he said, except he couldn't find any Oak Forest administrators to tell him it was required.
"My nurse, my secretary, my principal--nobody was there," he said. "I didn't have anybody there to talk to, and I didn't know who this lady was."
Some parents are lobbying the school district to give Light a second chance, but Abbott said the district can't afford to make exceptions. "It would completely destroy our ability to keep children safe if we allowed people to refuse the drug or alcohol test," he said.
Source: Houston Chronicle