Exemplary A.P. fired for not submitting to drug test.

The principal ordered his assistant principal to submit to a drug/alcohol test. The A.P. at first agreed, but later changed his mind.  The district recommended termination of his employment. The Commissioner upheld the man’s termination.

The district ordered the testing based on its Policy DHE (Local), which authorizes principals to order drug/alcohol testing of employees based on “reasonable suspicion.”  In a 2002 case involving a very similar policy, the Commissioner had concluded that such a policy is constitutional.  Here, the Commissioner came to the same conclusion. The policy was legal. The man refused to be tested.  So the issue was: did the district have “reasonable suspicion” sufficient to justify the forced testing?

The Commissioner ruled that the district did have sufficient justification.  Here is how the Commissioner summarized the evidence:

On November 29, 2016, Petitioner arrived late to work at Skyline High School and reported to the Principal that he was experiencing difficulty with his peripheral vision.  The undisputed testimony at hearing established that Petitioner exhibited uncharacteristic behavior including slurred speech, disorientation, and glassy eyes.  The Principal received reports from staff about Petitioner’s uncharacteristic behavior and concerns about his health.  The Principal directed Petitioner to report to the nurse. The nurse reported to the Principal that Petitioner had elevated blood pressure and that he denied having taken any medication.  After consultation with her supervisor and Human Capital Management, the Principal determined that there was reasonable suspicion to direct Petitioner to take an alcohol/drug test.

The decision notes that the “undisputed evidence” showed that the man was “an exemplary Assistant Principal in all other respects.” Nevertheless, this one instance of refusal to comply with a proper directive was sufficient to justify termination.

The case is Johnson v. Dallas ISD, Docket No. 029-R2-06-2017, decided by the Commissioner on August 10, 2017.


Tomorrow: Moving a student to a new campus.  Do we need an ARD meeting?