Success Stories
Darrell Langdon

At the time Darrell Langdon came to public attention in the summer of 2010 he had just been turned down for a job as a boiler room engineer with the Chicago Public Schools ("CPS"), under a state law barring anyone with a drug conviction from working in the public school system. Langdon's 1985 conviction for possession of cocaine was relatively minor, and he had gotten a court order relieving him of this employment bar. Still, CPS refused to give him a chance. It was Langdon's good fortune that Dawn Turner Trice of the Chicago Tribune took an interest in his story: "Darrell Langdon made a mistake more than two decades ago. A Cook County judge believes Langdon deserves a second chance. Until Monday, Chicago Public Schools officials didn't-but, in response to my questions, they're taking a second look."

What made Langdon's case unusual was that he had worked successfully for CPS years before. In fact, he had been employed by CPS in 1985 when he was caught with a half gram of cocaine and sentenced to six months' probation. He had been able to keep his job, but struggled with his addiction. Finally, in 1988, CPS sent him to its employee assistance program for drug treatment. It was a turning point. Langdon later reported, "I did so well that I was eventually called on to tell my story and help others with their addictions." Langdon's recovery was remarkable, and he became a responsible family man and well-respected member of his community. He continued to work for CPS until 1995, when he was laid off along with hundreds of other public school employees.

The story of Langdon's remarkable recovery, including gaining custody of his two children and raising them as a single parent when their mother could not conquer her own drug addiction, consistent attendance at AA meetings and eventual sponsorship of newcomers to the program, and steady support for friends and family over the years despite considerable adversity, is detailed in papers filed with the court in support of his petition for a Certificate of Good Conduct. The letters of support from employers, co-workers, friends, and family members attest to his many talents and capacity for hard work, to his resilience and generosity, and to his success as a parent, as a family man, and as a friend. See details of Darrell Langdon's story, as published in the Howard Law Journal by Margaret Colgate Love by clicking here:

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