Ex-con sues school district that won’t hire him


There was a time, not that long ago, when teachers and other school personnel were expected to lead exemplary lives -- not only because the physical and moral safety of the students on hand was of paramount concern, but also because all adults on campus were understood to be role models.


Any kind of impropriety was grounds for dismissal: public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, lascivious behavior, etc. Any applicant even suspected of such failings would be refused employment. The idea that the needs and desires of a scandal-tainted adult might take precedence over the security of impressionable young minds was unheard-of.


Such old-fashioned notions of decency are now considered so quaint in some quarters that anyone foolish enough to support them is reckoned retrogressive and subjected to relentless ridicule.


Too often, persons whose inappropriate behavior once made them objects of stigmatization and ostracism are now stigmatizing and ostracizing the rest of us.


Take Norris Rogers.


Mr. Rogers got busted on drug charges 28 years ago and went to jail. He paid his debt to society and took up a trade. Last year, he applied for a job as a master electrician with the Pearland Independent School District (PISD), but neglected to mention his record.


The district, which has a policy against hiring ex-cons, learned of his conviction record and rejected his application. End of story? Not for Mr. Rogers. He filed suit against PISD in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas.


Mr. Rogers charges that PISD’s employment policy is discriminatory since a disproportionate number of ex-cons are black.


We’re sorry Mr. Rogers messed up his life early on and we’re glad that he’s now trying to lead a productive one, but we side with PISD on this one.


Mr. Rogers’ needs and desires do not trump the right of PISD students to be protected from potential harm. He’ll have to look for work elsewhere.



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