BOE Approves Changes To Employee Tobacco Policy - No “mind-altering substance or intoxicant (illegal or legal).”

Habersham Co. -  No “mind-altering substance or intoxicant (illegal or legal).” This is what the revised Employee Tobacco Policy states for Habersham County School employees.

The Board of Education approved in a 5 to 0 vote, to make certain revisions to Policy GAN - Employee Tobacco Policy.  Superintendent Matthew Cooper claimed that the reason for revising the policy is due to a rise in the use of CBD and vaping products in our nation.

 The new policy says that no tobacco, vaping, CBD products of any kind are allowed on the job or while in direct supervision of students.

“This prohibition shall include unlawful use, cultivation, manufacture, distribution, sale, purchase, possession, transportation or importation of any controlled drug or narcotic substance, being under the influence of any controlled drug, narcotic substance, or any mind-altering substance or intoxicant (illegal or legal).”

The policy goes on to say, “specifically including any product with cannabidiol (CBD), whether hemp or cannabis and regardless of the amount of THC in the product or the extent to which it is legal or illegal under state law.”

During the first reading of the revised policy that took place in Sept., Cooper claims, “It’s a problem when you are responsible for supervising students if your mind is altered in any way.” He continues claiming, “We’re protecting our employees with this policy.” 

He went on to affirm that some CBD products out there are made from Marijuana and that an employee could end up mistakenly use a wrongly labeled CBD product, resulting in them to come to work “high” which is a problem and could result in them losing their jobs, according to Cooper.

“We’re not in the business as a school system to test CBD products that our students or employees may be using,” Cooper says.

The new revisions to this policy would prohibit any “mind-altering” substances. When questioned as to where the line is drawn on what is considered “mind-altering” and would pharmaceuticals like antidepressants or acetaminophen be considered as “mind-altering”, Cooper evaded the direct question. 

When faced with the question of what would happen if a student or employee had a doctor’s recommendation for these products, more specifically CBD products, Cooper replied in an email statement with “Yes, employees and students are still able to use medications that are prescribed by a doctor. Our nurses are also able to administer over the counter medications such as acetaminophen with parental permission.”

“I think it’s a smart revision,” Cooper said during the Sept. reading.

Cooper made a note on Monday, Oct. 21, that the policy would go into effect immediately and personnel would be briefed on the changes.