Judge rules suburban 5th grader can use medical marijuana at school

Sergio Conner
January 13, 2018

CHICAGO- Illinois on Friday said it won't get in the way of an 11-year-old child whose parents want her to be allowed to use medical marijuana at school to regulate seizures, despite state laws that prohibit the use of prescription cannabis on public school grounds.

But a compromise was sketched out in court Friday. The Surin's said Ashley has improved dramatically since she has been getting the medical marijuana treatments.

Meantime, the family says it's time for the legislature to update and revise the medical marijuana law.

"That's all we wanted was for her to be back in school with her friends on her diet, on her medicine, and just go on with her 11-year-old like", said Maureen Surin.

The girl's parents sued a Schaumburg-based school district and the state of IL for her to have the right to take medical marijuana at school to treat her seizure disorders. "And now she can think clearer and she's more alert". The family argued in the lawsuit that the state's medical marijuana law as written denies the child due process and violates the federally-mandated Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Her parents say it treats the epilepsy she developed after undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia.

A lawyer for the school district said Schaumburg District #54 owes a debt of gratitude to Ashley's family for bringing the issue to light.

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Parties in the current lawsuit were expected to meet in court next week.

However the school district will not let her to wear the patch or allow school officials to give her drops of cannabis oil that her parents say have made it bearable for her to attend school and learn.

IL passed a medical marijuana law in 2014, but the statute prohibits the consumption or possession of cannabis on public school property. Cannabis oil drops help her get through the school day, according to the lawsuit obtained by USA Today.

A 2016 study from New York University found that in 162 patients with epilepsy, marijuana treatments reduced seizures by 36.5 percent and two percent of the patients became completely seizure free.

District 54 Superintendent Andy DuRoss said Thursday officials there regularly work with parents to devise care plans to accommodate the needs of students with medical conditions but are prohibited by state law from allowing pot on school grounds. The law prohibits smoking the drug in school, but allows patches or tinctures, as long as it's not disruptive to classrooms. The measure was called Jack's Law, for Jack Splitt, a 15-year-old with cerebral palsy who died that year, after the law was passed.

That was when the girl was treated with traditional medications.

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