A Santa Rosa girl who relies on cannabis-based oil to treat a rare form of epilepsy started kindergarten Monday under a court order that allows her to attend class while a judge decides whether the Rincon Valley Union School District can ban the medication from school grounds.
Brooke Adams, 5, has Dravet syndrome, a lifelong disorder that causes frequent and prolonged seizures. Her family treats the genetic disease using daily doses of THC oil and cannabidiol, a marijuana compound also known as CBD.
Brooke must carry the THC oil with her at all times because larger doses of the medication, which is applied to her gums, stops the seizures when they strike, mother Jana Adams said.
The medication — and whether Brooke can take it with her to Village Elementary School — is at the center of a dispute between the Rincon Valley school district and the Adams family.
The district refused to let Brooke bring her medication on campus, citing state and federal barriers prohibiting medical marijuana in schools. Attorneys representing her family say the district’s stance violates rules that protect disabled students.
The California Office of Administrative Hearings’ Special Education Division, which handles disagreements between school districts and parents of children with disabilities, held a hearing on the dispute July 25 and is expected to issue a ruling by mid November.
The judge in the case, Charles Marson, granted a temporary order allowing Brooke to start kindergarten Monday and bring her THC medication to class until he issues a final ruling. Under the order, the school district will provide a nurse to administer the THC medication if Brooke suffers a seizure in class.
Both parties have until Aug. 27 to submit their written arguments to Marson, who will then have 45 days to make a decision.
You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @nashellytweets.