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Brevard County School Board: Rules Don’t Apply To Our Speech.

Last Thursday, the Brevard County School Board held a meeting during which the sad, but interesting case of a teacher by the name of Allison Enright was discussed.

According to the Florida Today:

Allison Enright, a teacher at Space Coast Junior/Senior High School, disclosed her medical marijuana use when she took a drug test after an injury at work. A student shoved her on a flight of stairs after she corrected him for disobeying directional hallway rules designed to limit face to face contact to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enright said she had no idea her medication violated the district’s policy, which has not been updated since 2003, and says teachers can’t use “illegal drugs,” without specifically mentioning marijuana prescribed by a doctor.

Enright said she takes a pill containing THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, twice a day. Before taking medical marijuana, she said she took opiods and sometimes had to use a wheelchair due to several health conditions causing pain and weakness.

“I want to make it clear: I don’t do drugs,” Enright said, addressing the board during the public comment period. “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’s use of medical marijuana came to light when prior to a drug test, she disclosed the use.

Florida law allows the use of medical marijuana, but Federal law still prohibits it. The Board claimed that in order to continue to receive Federal funding, they had to abide by the “Drug Free Workplace” requirements from the Federal government. In order to do that, Enright needed to be terminated from her position and by a 3-2 vote, she was.

Part of the tragedy to us about this case is that Enright was hurt on the job. She literally gave her health to be a teacher and the School Board fired her. We don’t know if any other outcome was possible, but it appears that the School Board was acting on the belief that the Federal Government would withhold funds, rather than the Feds actually contacting them and saying they were going to.

When a good teacher is hurt on the job, is in pain, still wants to teach and is able to teach, we would have hoped the School Board would have fought for her a little harder. Enright is not some junkie or smoking to get high. We would have thought about raising a defense on the Americans With Disabilities Act which requires “reasonable accommodations” for a person with a medical condition like Enright. The School Board then would have been faced with the choice of obeying the ADA or following the “Drug Free Workplace” requirements.

Still, while we are mentioning this case in passing, what we found interesting was that the School Board spent a little over an hour discussing this case – this teacher individually. Furthermore:

All board members expressed regret at having to discuss terminating Enright, who had several colleagues testify to her work record at the meeting. emphasis ours

You may remember a few weeks ago when we said the School Board was violating the First Amendment rights of people when it came to public comments in meetings.

Specifically we noted within the School Board’s Policies and specifically read by Chairperson Misty Belford:

0169.1 – PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AT BOARD MEETINGS

…..

G. The presiding officer may:

1) interrupt, warn, or terminate a participant’s statement when the statement is too lengthy, personally directed, abusive, obscene, or irrelevant;

If that is the case, then the people who spoke up for Enright and making their comments about her personally, should have been cut off if the School Board was being consistent.

They were not cut off, most likely for the simple reason they were praising Enright. (Right result, wrong reason.) The School Board is happy to have people come and say how great Board members, employees, students, parents, vendors and others are, but if you want to say negative things about someone, be prepared to be cut off by the Chair.

Furthermore, the Board itself spoke about Enfield which means that the Board is saying they have special privileges for speech and that the rules for the public don’t apply to them. After all, one would hope that the Chair would not allow the Board to break any policies, and that members of the Board themselves would not break any rules.

The thing that is troublesome about this is that there are current and former teachers on that Board.

The reason that we have compulsory education in this country is that educated people – people that are taught the history of the country, the foundational documents, reading, writing, basic math skills, etc., – make better citizens.

Here we have the School Board of Brevard County with leaders that are so bereft of basic knowledge of the rights of people, and even their own board policies, that we are left to wonder what are they directing students to be taught?

Shouldn’t we at least have leaders that know something of the law, the Constitution (both Federal and Florida) and the Bill of Rights?



2 Responses to “Brevard County School Board: Rules Don’t Apply To Our Speech.”

  1. Truthful says:

    Choose your own curriculum and homeschool your children to maximize their learning.

    Then, take them to a school board meeting to further educate them on how not to behave.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Truthful,

      Thanks for the comment.

      While we agree on the sentiment, the problem is that even now we see people that are in office or in government jobs who think that what have been taught and what groups like the School Board do is the norm and correct.

      We know we are fighting against the tide, but if we drown, we are going, we are going to try and swim first.

      Thanks again.

      A. Afterwit.

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