Please email members of the DougCo School Board and let them know your view on their preventing a school from holding potentially life-saving medicine from a student who suffers from epilepsy. As far as I can tell, DougCo is breaking the law. I don't care if some of them don't like that the medicine is derived from marijuana; this situation is unacceptable. School Board members can fix it fast. And they should. Now.
September 1, 2020
For Immediate Release
CCRD Issues Finding of Probable Cause of Discrimination by Douglas County School District Against Student; School District Refuses to Change Policy to Conform to State Law.
On our son’s first day of school in 2019, he was unlawfully separated from his doctor recommended cannabis-based epilepsy medicine at school, placing him in significant danger if a seizure were to occur. The Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) has now issued a probable cause finding of discrimination against Douglas County School District (DCSD) for this conduct; it is time for DCSD to do what’s right and change school district policy to conform to Colorado Law.
In 2016, the Douglas County School District adopted a policy prohibiting the administration of any medical marijuana-based medications by school personnel in response to Jack’s Law, which allowed parents to administer cannabis-based medicines on school grounds. In 2018, a second law was passed, allowing school principals individually to decide to allow volunteer administration of medical marijuana on school grounds by school personnel, only after a written plan of administration has been completed. Following the passage of the amendment, we made multiple attempts at school board meetings to get the 2016 policy of non-administration updated; however, the district has refused to change the unlawful policy.
In October of last year, we submitted a complaint to the CCRD against DCSD on behalf of our son Ben in response to the discrimination Ben has faced at his school with respect to his life-saving medication for epilepsy. In July, the CCRD issued a letter of determination concluding that on the evidence provided, there was probable cause of discrimination because the policy violates state law and Ben has not been provided a reasonable accommodation by DCSD.
In addition to the CCRD finding, the district’s policy has also received scrutiny from the Colorado General Assembly. In December of last year, at the urging of the Office of Legislative Legal Services, the General Assembly concluded that the state board of education rule providing authority to school boards to adopt a policy of administration was contrary to the law. The General Assembly reiterated it was school principals who had authority, and the rule granting authority to school boards was vacated.
In short, the CCRD has determined DCSD’s policy to be discriminatory and the General Assembly has determined that the policy is invalid because the school district never had the authority to adopt it in the first place. Yet, despite being aware of these issues for several months, DCSD has taken no action to change its policy and has instead continued to enforce it. At this point, we have exhausted all low-cost means to effectuate change. DCSD has lost at both the Colorado Civil Rights Division and in the General Assembly, but they still refuse to change their unlawful policy on cannabinoid-based therapeutics to conform to state law and potentially save our son’s life.
Up until now, legal costs have been minimal as the CCRD suit is an administrative proceeding investigated by the state, but if a lawsuit has to be filed, DCSD legal fees will significantly increase, taking needed funds from Douglas County teachers and students during a pandemic, all because the elected school board refuses to follow the law. This would be an incredibly unfortunate situation if we were forced to take this action, but it is a step we are willing to take to protect our son.
Please contact the Douglas County School Board members and demand a change to policy so that continued unlawful policies don’t cost students districtwide and our son potentially his life.
PHOTO: Brad and Amber Wann