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Judge Allows 11-Year-old Girl to Use Medical Marijuana at School

16 January, 2018, 00:52 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
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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.

While medical marijuana is legal in IL, it is against the law for students to use it in school or have school nurses administer it.

Her parents filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday against Schaumburg School District 54 and the State of IL, claiming that the state's ban on taking the drug at school violates the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Tom Iopollo, an assistant attorney general for the state, assured attorneys for the suburban Chicago school district and the parents of Ashley Surin that IL would not prosecute the child or any school officials who may administer medical cannabis products to Ashley. Her parents told WGN that there were side effects to the chemotherapy and other medical treatments that brought on seizures. She was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 2, and subsequent chemotherapy triggered debilitating seizures and brain trauma that she continues to experience as an adolescent, said her father Jim Surin. Ashley uses a patch on her foot and an oil extract on her wrists.

They also contend that denying her daughter the substance means she takes more time off school with illness, breaking a state law which requires her to go to school.

School officials, the attorney filing the lawsuit and national marijuana activists and opponents interviewed for this story did not know of any previous similar court case, meaning this lawsuit could set legal precedent. Cannabis oil drops help her get through the school day, according to the lawsuit obtained by USA Today. A physician certified the girl to use medical marijuana to help treat the seizures. In Colorado, where voters authorized medical marijuana in 2000, lawmakers let schools allow the drug for medical use, but no schools did so initially.

Could the ruling, the first of its kind, be a trendsetter for other school districts across the nation? Seizures and traditional medications can be so debilitating to children that marijuana's side effects are far less unsafe, he said. Jack, who had cerebral palsy, died in 2016.

Chicago Tribune's Steve Schmadeke contributed.


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