Aberdeen clears the air of marijuana confusion

In case the state’s new policy on marijuana had confused any teachers within the Aberdeen School District, the district’s board clarified that they do not approve of the use of it at school at its meeting Tuesday night.

New language in the district’s policy clarifies that the drug is considered a controlled substance and is not allowed in the workplace.

District Superintendent Tom Opstad spoke to the “interesting” nature of the district’s position now that the drug is to be considered recreationally legal, but also the fact that it is prescribed medicinally.

He said that even his doctor recommended the drug for his glaucoma, telling him it is “proven to release inter-ocular pressure” and has a number of other benefits.

“I said, ‘That’s great, do you have any drops?’ ” he joked, adding it’s not something he would consider using, but that the event stood out to him. He said he is sure they will encounter occasions with staff having been prescribed in a similar fashion.

Conduct unprofessional for staff now has the language added, “including marijuana (cannabis)” to the “illegal furnishing of alcohol or a controlled substance…to a student.” Another adds marijuana to behaviors not tolerated under the school’s “work place.”

That definition includes: any school building, or school premises, school-owned vehicle or school-approved vehicle used to transport students to and from school or school activities, and off school property during any school-sponsored or approved activity, event or function where students are under the jurisdiction of the district.

The language was also added to the district’s rules for drivers in accordance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration controlled substances and alcohol testing rules.

Also at the meeting:

• The Board approved a contract with the YMCA for after-school program services at Miller Junior High School.

The district was a recent recipient of half a million dollars each year for the next five years from the federal government as part of the 21st Century Grant, that is to be used to create academic or enrichment opportunities for high-needs areas for times when students are not in school. As part of this, the district’s contract with the YMCA states they will work with the 21st Century Site Coordinator and staff in providing academic assistance and recreational activities for 140 minutes per day though June of next year. They are to allow for at least one hour of tutoring each day, and will assist with snacks provided through the USDA Snack program. The total amount billed for the contract is not to exceed $19,440.

• The board discussed the future and faculty needs in accordance with the 2014 Maintenance and Operations Levy during a work study prior to the meeting.

• Opstad said Aberdeen High School junior Sarah McCauley will be the new student representative for the board and will start at the Nov. 5 meeting.

The board’s next meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at Aberdeen High school. A work study will begin at 5:30.