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Morning Bell: Medical marijuana and schools

Good Tuesday morning. Something I'll be covering in the coming weeks and months is the impact of medical marijuana on schools. I wrote on Monday that the state Department of Education has fielded many questions about the new legalization of medical marijuana and how schools should respond.

Some school leaders have concerns that this will lead to an increase in teenage drug use, which numerous studies seem to indicate hasn't happened in other states. 

However, the state Board of Education is expected to be presented next month with emergency rules regarding medical marijuana and public schools, and the state department plans to offer guidelines on how schools should to respond to students who may get a license to consume. 

Schools often have to follow strict guidance on everything from dispensing over-the-counter medicine to sunscreen, so medical marijuana is likely to receive a lot of attention. 

Many readers have asked if teenagers are even allowed to consume medical marijuana. The answer is yes, although not in a smokable form. 

Oklahomans under the age of 18 can consume medical marijuana with the recommendation of at least two doctors, based on rules approved last week by the State Board of Health.

However, those under 18 would still not be allowed to consume smokable or vapable medical marijuana.

TPS approves special needs students' consultant's contract

A controversial consultant will be employed by Tulsa Public Schools for another year — albeit at a smaller price than originally intended, reports the Tulsa World

Despite the concerns of current and former staff members, the Tulsa School Board approved Kim Lewis’s contract for the coming school year after pressing pause when former and current staff members raised concerns about her behavior and what she actually accomplished. They called her a bully and blamed her for turnover in hard-to-fill roles, such as speech language pathologists, within the district.

OKCPS revises plan for renting facilities

Oklahoma City Public Schools is updating the process for renting its facilities to the public after hours, a process the district's new superintendent characterized as "murky."

The school board voted 5-1 Monday night to approve revisions to the district's facilities use policy, including one clarifying what individuals and groups are charged to rent a gym, auditorium or field.

Under the revised policy, the district will charge for-profit individuals and groups a flat rate, but not charge those who provide a free service such as tutoring to district students.

Edmond students gets two perfect ACT scores

Edmond Santa Fe High School student Michael Yu received two perfect 36 scores on the ACT. The 16-year-old was recognized for his amazing feat recently at the July meeting of the Edmond School Board.

A national spokesman for the ACT explained why it rarely happens.

"Mainly students who earn a 36 on the ACT typically don't take the test again," said Ed Colby, senior director of the ACT's public relations division.

Schools look to boost curriculum through state grant

Springer Public Schools is bolstering its curriculum through a grant from the Oklahoma State Board of Education.

The district was one of many awarded the grant the Champions of Excellence grant, a $4 million grant that is awarded to districts with plans to make their curriculum more well-rounded and include more technology in their classrooms, reports the Ardmoreite

Since receiving the grant, they’ve hired two new faculty members.

“We didn’t know if we were going to get the grant, so we couldn’t start hiring until now,” Springer Superintendent Cynthia Hunter said.

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Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›