The Dakota Valley School Board held first and second readings (Monday, Aug. 9 and Thursday, Aug. 12) to approve seven legislative policies and a handbook policy changes. The policies reflect the legalization of medical cannabis within the state of South Dakota.

Policy JHCDE – Administration of Medical Cannabis to Qualifying Students was discussed. Dr. Tonia Warzecha explained that this is for students and there will be a policy provided at a later date for faculty. Provided in IM26 are a list of must do’s and can do’s. The school must provide a location for administration of the medical cannabis by a caregiver. No Dakota Valley staff or faculty members are to distribute or store the medical cannabis.

Policy JHCDE-E (1) – Medical Cannabis Administration Plan is the form that a parent or guardian must fill out to acknowledge the policy and must produce their caregiver card, the student’s card and the medical prescription or certification by a physician.

“Just as a final note, it has to be a card validated by the State of South Dakota’s Department of Health,” Warzecha said. “Non-resident card-carrying individuals have to apply for that through the South Dakota Department of Health.”

JEA – Compulsory Attendance Ages was addressed to clean up the previous policy, follow the wording of the Associated School Board of South Dakota (ASBSD) recommended policy and guidelines of what is compulsory attendance age. Added was that it is a class 2 misdemeanor.

JEAA – Students’ Alternative Instruction was altered to follow ASBSD’s recommendations stating students have to attend some public or non-public school unless excused from school attendance. If a student is doing an alternative instruction, a notification card must be filled out within 30 days and sent to the South Dakota Department of Education Notification System.

JHCD – Administration of Medications to Students was updated to reflect medical cannabis and that no Dakota Valley staff or faculty members are to administer medical cannabis to qualifying students.

JFCH – Alcohol and Other Drug Use by Students is an existing policy, but also needed to reflect medical cannabis. Qualifying students with a validated card and utilizing prescription drugs or medical cannabis as prescribed by a licensed physician will not violate the school’s alcohol and drug use policy. Warzecha stated that this is to reflect medical cannabis only. If a student is caught smoking marijuana or using another form without a prescription from a licensed physician, that student would be in violation of school policy.

GBEC – Use of Alcohol, Drugs and Controlled Substances, another existing policy, reflects the faculty’s use of alcohol, drugs or controlled substances on campus.

“If the employee is using it as prescribed and is not under the influence and can perform his or her said duties safely and appropriately, they are not in violation of the drug-free workplace policy,” Warzecha explained, “Much like a student is not in violation of the drug use policy, if they’re using it appropriately and they’re under the care of a physician and a caregiver.”

The last policy was the District Student Handbook which cut out portions to the aforementioned policies and just referred to the policy number. This will help lessen mistakes when policies are changed in the future.

The board approved all the policy changes during the second reading.

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times.