Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Board approves policy advisory on medicine


July 24, 2019

Among the items the Tucumcari school board approved in its consent agenda during its regular meeting July 15 was a first reading of policy advisory on administering medicine to students, including medical marijuana.

Board members had little discussion about the policy changes, but the board’s packet of documents contained the full text, including the proposed medical-marijuana rules.

One of the changes requires not a physician to give medication and medical marijuana, but an “authorized health care professional.” Written permission from a parent is required to allow the school or student to administer prescription medication, over-the-counter drugs or cannabis. All drugs, including cannabis, must come in a prescription container or original container.

Among the new directives are rules about medications left at the school at the end of the school year. The parents must pick them up within a week or they are destroyed.

Another new rule states: “In the case of medical cannabis, should there be no licensed school employee who is willing upon designation or license to administer medication, a written health management plan shall be prepared in consultation with the parents and school authorities indicating the conditions under which the parent may be present to administer the medication. This will include direction on where and how as well as when the medication may be administered.”

The parent must provide a written cannabis treatment plan, a copy of written certification for use of cannabis and a signed release of school liability. Drugs must be kept in a locked medicine cabinet with “access limited to administration designated personnel.” The cannabis “must be non-aerosol, cannot be smoked or inhaled by vapor or by burning.”

Assistant Superintendent David Johnson said after the meeting he wasn’t aware of any students at Tucumcari schools being prescribed medical marijuana. But he said it probably would happen in the future, especially for a child suffering from epilepsy. Clinical trials suggest cannabis oil can reduce the number and severity of seizures.

Board President Carlos Romero noted though medical marijuana is legal in New Mexico, the district’s bus drivers cannot use it because they must hold federal commercial driver’s licenses and are subject to random drug testing.

In other business:

• Business manager Leola Patterson said one fund with the district was due about $125,000 since March from the federal government because the New Mexico Public Education Department hadn’t approved reimbursement of expenditures for the district’s special-education program.

An official with the state agency isn’t clearing reimbursements for a secretary and copier though they are used exclusively for special education and are allowed under federal guidelines. Patterson said no one at the agency has returned her phone calls about the matter. In the meantime, she advised the board to “be careful” with spending.

Superintendent Aaron McKinney said he likely would have a meeting with state officials this week and hoped to clear up the matter.

In an email Wednesday, Patterson stated the request for federal reimbursements was approved, and the district will begin receiving the money.

• In action items, the board approved a resolution to participate in a local government road-fund program administered by the New Mexico Department of Transportation for a project at the unit office at 700 W. Amarosa Ave. McKinney said two new concrete pads installed there would reduce drainage. The state’s share would be $10,979, and McKinney said the district’s portion would be about $8,000.

• The board approved an annual open-meetings resolution to comply with the Open Meetings Act and an annual report of district assets that totals $68.6 million.

• The board approved McKinney to use his personal vehicle and be reimbursed for mileage during the 2019-2020 school year. McKinney said such use was rare, but the approval was needed to satisfy the district’s auditor.

• The board approved a first draft of the student handbook for 2019-2020. Johnson said most alterations to the handbook were minor. But one change regards students’ cellphones in the elementary school. Office staff once kept children’s phones for safekeeping during school, but Johnson said the number has swelled from “eight or nine” to 40 or 50. The handbook now states the district is not responsible for the loss or theft of a child’s phone — a similar policy to the high school’s.

“We’re treating them like big kids because they’re carrying them like big kids,” Johnson said.

Board members were advised to read the handbook draft and flag possible revisions or corrections so school officials could make changes to the final edition by next month.

• In the consent agenda, board members approved a school-security projects application of $49,357, with a state match of $32,082. It includes vehicle barriers, bulletproof glazing for the front entrance and exterior door access control systems.

• Board members approved a $1,000 donation from the Tucumcari Elks Lodge 1172 to be used for the middle school’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America national competition in Anaheim, California.

• Board members gave a final reading for policy advisories, including the state being no longer required to pay for background checks for prospective school-district employees. McKinney said a typical background check costs $44 and is “well worth it” as a district expense.


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