The Carson City School Board discussed the possibility of taking an official stand against Question 2, which would allow the legalization of recreational marijuana.
The Legislative piece is scheduled for the November ballot in Nevada, and members and parents alike raised issues about how this would impact students in the Carson City School District. The board discussed whether it should, or had the place as an elected body to take a stand for or against a political issue.
“We don’t have skin in this game to tell voters how to vote,” said School Board Clerk Ryan Green. “I think a good compromise would be to sponsor some public debates and ensure that both sides are up here for debate.”
The board invited Pat Hickey, a former assemblyman for the Nevada Legislature and a member of the State School Board, who shared the negative impacts marijuana has on school-age children.
“The number of users is up 19 percent in Colorado, 21 percent in Washington and drug-related suspension and expulsions are up 40 percent in Colorado,” Hickey said. “This is just one more thing that will complicate success.”
Hickey said by allowing marijuana to be legalized, it would impact student learning and dissuade students from going into productive careers.
“The goal for Nevada is to improve educational outcomes and how we create a new workforce populated by students who are career and college ready to build new Nevada with new skills,” Hickey said.
He also compared how the current state of Colorado and Washington have changed with education since the introduction of legalized marijuana. He said after speaking with several school principals in Colorado, a big problem the schools are having is being able to monitor edibles and other forms of the drug.
“Theses cause the biggest problem because they are virtually impossible to see if the students are partaking,” Hickey said. “And the new marijuana has impacts on the teen brains, with regular usage there are lower IQs for those young people who use when the cognitive part of the brain is impacted.”
“You have more and better things to do to make the district productive than to deal with if marijuana becomes available. I think we have the opportunity to say we don’t need this for the kind of Nevada we wish to see in the future.”
The board members did agree with Hickey’s concerns, however, were divided on if it was acceptable for them to take an official “no” to the matter.
“We have skin in this because we have kids who will be effected,” said Vice President Laurel Crossman.
One mother also agreed it was acceptable for the board to take a stand against it because of the D.A.R.E. program. Sarah Romeo and her daughter spoke to the board, saying if the schools can take a stand through D.A.R.E. to teach the kids not to use drugs, then they are within their rights in this case.
“If the curriculum taught in the school can take a stand on that... students are taught what to do when presented with it, to just say no,” Romeo said. “...I hope the school board could support the curriculum and just say no to it.”