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Medical marijuana policy discussed

JCSD board of directors host meeting to talk about drug handling in schools

MIFFLINTOWN — How will medical marijuana be administered to students of Juniata County School District?

The board of directors approved the first reading of a policy that addresses where the drug would be given and by whom during its regular voting meeting on Thursday.

The policy came before the board from administrators, who had concern about how to handle the issue should the need arise.

Juniata High School Principal Ben Fausey said staff have seen the need for a policy in an effort to be proactive.

“Instead of waiting until we have a parent who says ‘I want to administer this tomorrow’… let’s try to get this in place before it’s crisis time and we have someone who needs this to be able to function,” he said. “We want something in place that follows the law, but also takes care of our kids.”

Fausey said the school nurse has researched the issue extensively.

The policy says a parent would have to come to the school and administer the drug — most likely with a nebulizer, in specific areas of the building.

Board member Heather Kelley said before the policy is approved, she would like to see what the options are related to where the drug is administered and by whom.

The board plans to discuss the variables involved in the policy during a workshop meeting.

Board member Troy Woodward said he would need clarification regarding the conflict of laws between federal and state government and whether it would affect the district’s funding.

“I’ve done some research on this and I’ve seen that there is a possibility of conflict with federal funding to schools that would allow this. I think that needs to be looked at because we don’t want to do something that might inhibit our Title 1 funding.”

Kelly added that it is also important to consider the liability of risk if treatment is not allowed at school.

“If we have a student with an identifiable risk, for example, a seizure disorder, and this person is prescribed this, and we refuse to allow it to be administered during the school day, what’s our risk?” she said. “It’s going to have to be a weighing of regulatory funding enforcement because of the conflict between state and federal law versus the potential of liability for failure to accommodate a student’s disability.

Also during the meeting, the board discussed how to handle negative lunch balances, which total more than $18,300 — some of which is carried over from last year.

Business Manager Richard Meily explained the board approved a delinquent collector for negative balances last year, however it did not set a threshold for collecting payment.

“There are people that are $3 in the hole and there are people that owe hundreds of dollars,” he said.

Kelly also asked if there was anything the district could do to ensure students do not accrue more debt.

“I know it’s the policy that we don’t deny a hungry student a meal … but there might be a kid or two in the district that buys ice cream for his basketball friends or has food available to them at home and just doesn’t make it. How do we manage that or can parents cut off that obligation?”

Superintendent Gary Dawson said due to lunch shaming laws, students can only be denied lunch if the the parents allow it.

Dawson said he will do research to find out how other districts are handling negative lunch balances.

The board tabled a motion to lock in prices for electricity with Direct Energy Business for a 34-month term and approved Meily to participate in an online energy auction to obtain a rate lower than 5.99 cents per kilowatt hour for up to a 36-month term.

The board also took the following action:

¯ Approved a new course, drama, as an elective for grades nine to 12.

¯ Approved the following contractors for snow removal services for the 2019-20 school year: Zimmerman’s Excavation for Juniata Elementary School, Juniata High School and the administrative office; Burkholder Lawn Care for East Juniata Elementary School and Mountain View School; and Shade-Chris Excavating for East Juniata High School. Board member Christine Shadel abstained from voting.

¯ Approved Hannah Zeiders as a driver. Board member Joseph Shearer abstained from voting.

¯ Approved a revised police for withdrawal from school and field trip regulations.

¯ Approved the enrollment of Emile Kwasner-Catsi, from Australia, as an East Juniata High School exchange student.

¯ Approved the resignation of Juniata Elementary School teacher Thelma Leister, effective Oct. 25.

¯ Approved the employment of Jamie Geedy as a substitute custodian.

¯ Approved Jessie Reed as a mentor for Laura Renninger and Stacie Kint.

¯ Authorized administration to fill a vacant Juniata Elementary School second grade teaching position with approval to be retroactive to the board’s Nov. 21 meeting.

¯ Approved the following extracurricular positions for the 2019-20 school year: A.J. Hendricks, Tuscarora Junior High School boys’ basketball coach, $1,450; Joe Daubert, volunteer wrestling coach; Robert Schifano, volunteer air rifle coach; Adam Repsher, volunteer air rifle coach.

¯ Approved a memorandum of understanding with Juniata Mennonite School and Shade Mountain Mennonite School regarding school nursing services.

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