Fla. Juvenile Justice Worker Sues Over Firing


Roderick H. Wenzel, an analyst with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, refused in August to take a mandatory drug test, citing privacy rights. The department said that only a drug-user would refuse to take a test, the Miami Herald reports. Wenzel, 49 was fired. Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state, saying his dismissal violated his constitutional rights.

A Florida lawmaker questions whether Wenzel’s drug test was random. State Rep. Gus Barreiro, R-Miami, obtained a copy of Wenzel’s personnel file. He says Wenzel had been questioning the department’s policy of locking up more and more youngsters, angering his bosses. Barreiro will subpoena Wenzel to testify before a committee looking into detention centers and the death of a 17-year-old Miami detainee.

At the time of his firing, Wenzel was manager of strategic planning, which involved no contact with children. “We are a criminal justice agency that works every day to prevent and reduce juvenile crime,” said Secretary William Bankhead. “Our public employees must be drug-free and set the right example for young people.”

Link: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/7517143.htm

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