The Brevard County School Board in Florida voted this week 3-2 in favor of terminating Allison Enright, a teacher at the Space Coast Junior/Senior High School who tested positive on a drug test for medical cannabis use, Florida Politics reports.
Medical cannabis is legal in Florida but the plant remains a Schedule 1 substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which — members of the school board argued — meant that Enright’s continued employment could have jeopardized the school’s federal grants and other funding.
Enright was issued the drug test after she was injured when a student shoved her on a flight of stairs. She had confronted the student for disobeying rules related to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the school. Enright said she had no idea that her use of medical cannabis was in violation of district policy, which only says that teachers can’t use “illegal drugs” — and which hasn’t been updated since 2003. Notably, students in the school district may be permitted to use medical cannabis under a 2019 policy but no such exceptions exist for teachers.
Enright said she takes a THC pill twice per day and that before switching to medical cannabis, she was taking opioids.
“I want to make it clear: I don’t do drugs. I don’t smoke pot. I don’t get high. … I love teaching. It’s not just what I do, it’s who I am. I have been at a loss without my students and colleagues. Space Coast high is my family, and I want to go back. Please, let me go back home.” — Enright, addressing the board during public comments, via Florida Politics
Despite this, and despite supportive statements from multiple co-workers who attested to her positive work record, the school board ultimately voted to uphold Enright’s firing, which officially took place Wednesday. The decision will receive a hearing for review within the next 60 days.
School board members all expressed regret at “having” to let go of an otherwise qualified and dedicated educator.
“I can’t tell you how unfortunate it is that this happened,” said board member Cheryl McDougall, who voted in favor of firing Enright. “I wish we could turn back the clock. But again, I feel like I’m bound to follow [my constitutional duty].”
Last November, Florida’s Marion County School Board fired high school dean Mike Hickman, a military veteran, over his use of medical cannabis to treat combat wound-related chronic pain.
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