By Susan K. Livio
Genny Barbour works on her coloring book. 4/10/14 Maple Shade, NJ (John Munson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
TRENTON — Roger and Lora Barbour of Maple Shade have sued the school district to allow their teenage daughter to consume medical marijuana oil with her lunch because they say it controls her seizures.
Attorneys for the Maple Shade school district and the Larc School in Bellmawr, the private school for children with developmental disabilities 16-year-old Genny Barbour attends, won’t allow it, fearing they will be cited for violating the drug-free school zone law, and the federal law that states marijuana is illegal despite New Jersey law permitting a medicinal marijuana program.
An administrative law judge sided with Maple Shade, and the family has appealed. While this landmark court battle proceeds — legal experts say they believe is the first lawsuit of its
kind in the country — the Barbours story has generated a lot of reader interest and hundreds of online comments. Read the comments, then continue the conversation below.
Here’s some of what NJ.com users had to say:
I commend and support the Barbours in this uphill battle. Instead of choosing to sneak the medicine into their daughter’s lunch, they were forthcoming, responsible and are seeking the legal route. I can understand the school’s concerns about potential legal issues with the classification of the drug, but controlled subtances are administered in schools across the country everyday. Tonic Clonic seizures, which Genny suffers from, are horrific, dangerous and debilitating. Suggesting that the parents continue to pull their daughter from school to give her the medication she needs is absurd. There is a need for a revision in the classification of medical marijuana to help children like Genny. Additionally, there is a need to relieve school districts and schools from the restraints of law when it comes to doing what’s best for the students. The classification of medical marijuana needs to change and does the law regarding the administration in schools. The level of side effects and toxicity in other prescribed medications is well documented. People need to do their own research to understand the true benefits of medical marijuana and stop fearing what they don’t understand. This method does not and is not intended to get someone “high.” Research, read and help be a positive part of this effort. I hope the Barbours take this fight to the federal court and win. The quality of life for their daughter and children like her depends on their vigilance.
While I have complete sympathy for this girl, and her family, this issue is a symptom of our Nation’s looming crisis. As we change a law to accommodate individuals and small groups of people, it opens the door even wider for the abusers. If this situation is accommodated, the parents of all of the stoners and those that obtained “medical marijuana” cards through corrupt doctors, will scream for the same exemption.
Instead of a nation that operates under democracy (majority rules), we are quickly becoming a nation that caters to the extreme wants of individuals — which is essentially an anarchy.
Laws are supposed to be created/written to protect the freedoms of all individuals, not to allow for exceptions for each individual that wants one.
While I feel sorry for this girl, I completely sympathize with the school here. It’s not fair to put the school in this position. If I’m the school nurse, I’m not going to administer a Schedule I drug, outlawed under federal law, to a child. I’m not risking my license. I can’t just break the law because I don’t agree with it. Sorry.
And, I’m all for legalization (or leaving legalization up to individual states). As the nurse, I’d be cheering for her lawyers to be successful so that I could give her the drug under a court order.
But in the meantime, no; the school can’t just administer an illegal drug.
As a mom to an autistic teenage boy, I have a little insight into the ability of these kids to learn or not learn.
My son is at the high-functioning end of the spectrum, is in regular high school and has A averages in most of his classes, but this young lady sounds like she will never even live independently. If it has been shown that she has had improvement with this oil, and it appears that she has some improvement and has picked up some skills in school, then I don’t see why any medical professional would have a problem with this.
This story is chocked full of quotes from professionals saying that kids ingesting pot will stunt their development and destroy brain cells. I could see that being true if a) this girl was smoking pot; and b) she was of typical development. However, this story is NOT about a typical child, and if the oil is helping the girl’s seizures and she is gaining skills and functioning well, I do not see the harm.