The Brevard County School Board voted 3-2 on Tuesday to terminate Allison Enright from her position at Space Coast Junior/Senior High School, Florida Today reported. Brevard County is located on Florida's Atlantic Coast, east of Orlando.
Medical marijuana is legal in Florida, but federal regulations continue to categorize cannabis as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, like heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.
The school district must be a drug-free workplace to receive certain federal grants, and that means the district can’t allow teachers to use marijuana, School Board General Counsel Paul Gibbs said.
The school district adopted a policy in 2019 allowing students to use medical marijuana, but the policy didn’t address teachers. Enright disclosed her medical marijuana use when she took a drug test after an injury at work.
According to Florida Today, a student shoved her on a flight of stairs after she told him he was not abiding by the school's physical distancing rules due to the pandemic.
She said she didn’t realize that her medication violated the district’s policy, which says teachers can’t use "illegal drugs" without specifically mentioning marijuana prescribed by a doctor.
"I want to make it clear: I don’t do drugs. I don’t smoke pot. I don’t get high," Enright said during Tuesday’s meeting. "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 said she takes a pill containing THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, twice a day. Before taking medical marijuana, she said she took opioids and sometimes had to use a wheelchair for several health conditions causing pain and weakness.
All board members expressed regret at having to discuss Enright’s termination, but the majority ultimately upheld the school district’s recommendation to fire her.
"I can’t tell you how unfortunate it is that this happened," board member Cheryl McDougall said, according to Florida Today. "I wish we could turn back the clock. But again, I feel like I’m bound to follow (my constitutional duty)."
Board Chair Misty Belford, who voted in favor of termination, said she would like to see the policy updated to prevent a similar situation from happening again.