Medical marijuana now allowed in Brevard schools

Multiple district policies revised

By Eric Rogers, Florida Today
Associated Press

This file photo shows a marijuana leaf on a plant at a cannabis grow. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Medical marijuana, school guardians and problem students were some of the topics touched on when the Brevard County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a number of revisions to district policy.

Here is a quick rundown of what you need to know, courtesy of News 6 partner Florida Today:

Medical marijuana
Students are now permitted to use medical marijuana on school campuses, under some tight restrictions. Florida law requires all school districts to implement a policy for allowing the medical use of marijuana by students on district property.

A student must hold a valid qualified patient identification card, and medical marijuana can only be administered by a state-registered caregiver. Students cannot be in possession of medical marijuana products on district property, and nurses and district staff are not permitted to handle, store or administer medical marijuana to any student.

Only "permissible" forms of non-smokeable marijuana are allowed, and can only be administered at a location on school grounds specially designated in writing by school officials.

The caregiver must also demonstrate that the administration could not reasonably be accomplished outside school hours and off district property.

Student interrogations
Investigators from law enforcement or the Department of Children and Families sometimes need to question students on school grounds. A policy revision eliminates the requirement for parental consent and for a principal or designee to be present for questioning.

An investigator may now direct a principal not to contact a parent before questioning. If a principal or designee is told not to contact a parent, he or she must submit a form documenting the investigator's directive.

Additionally, DCF investigators may keep a principal or designee out of the room during questioning unless the student requests or consents to their presence and unless the investigator believes they will make the interview more successful. Law enforcement may keep out a principal or designee if there are "compelling reasons" to do so.

Student criminal or mental health history
In accordance with state law, all students who wish to transfer into the district must disclose at the time of enrollment any record of expulsions in prior school districts, arrests resulting in a charge, juvenile justice actions and any corresponding referral to mental health services.

Any student with a history of behavioral issues in other school districts will be subject to assignment to a disciplinary setting or second-chance school, at the discretion of Brevard Public Schools.

Reporting school guardians
The school board in May 2018 approved the implementation of the state's Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, enacted after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The program allowed the district to employ armed civilian security specialists in schools.

District policy is now in line with state law requiring the superintendent to report to the Office of Safe Schools at the Florida Department of Education and to the school board chair when a guardian or school resource officer is dismissed or disciplined for misconduct, or discharges their firearm for purposes other than training.

Previously, the policy only required the superintendent report to the Brevard County Sheriff.

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