NJSBA’s policy unit has announced that the Critical Policy Reference Manual, which includes mandated policies, has been updated to include a newly revised nepotism policy, and a brand new policy on medical marijuana.

4112.8/4212.8 Nepotism has been updated for the newly released School Ethics Commission advisory opinions. The section titled “Board Member/Chief School Administrator Participation in Negotiations” was revised to more specifically define what activities a board member is restricted from participating in when he or she is a member of an out-of-district similar statewide union with which the board is negotiating.

Restricted activities include:

  • Developing negotiation parameters;
  • Being a member of the negotiating team;
  • Receiving confidential negotiations information updates;
  • Voting on the contract; and
  • Grievance participation.

In the same section, additional clarification was added regarding a conflicted relationship involving a relative who is a member of an out-of-district similar statewide union with which the board is negotiating. There is no conflict unless the relative has a union leadership position in the state-wide union or local union that has the ability to affect negotiations.

5141.22 Medical Marijuana Boards are required to have a policy for compliance with the new law P.L. 2015, c.158. This new law requires a board to permit the administration of medical marijuana to a registered student by a registered primary caregiver. The school nurse does not administer this medication and this medication cannot be stored on school property.

The new law requires that the school district establish protocols for verifying the registration status and ongoing authorization concerning the medical use of marijuana for the student and the parent, guardian, or primary caregiver. Despite this directive, school districts are not authorized by the law or supporting regulations (N.J.A.C. 8:64-1.1 et seq.) to receive verification of the registration status from the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) for the student authorized to use medical marijuana or the primary caregivers authorized to assist in the administration of medical marijuana. Therefore, it is unclear whether or not the NJDOH will verify the registration status of the student and/or the primary caregiver upon district request. Accordingly, it is recommended that the district obtain consent from the parents and primary caregiver for the release of medical marijuana registry information. NJSBA has a sample form for districts to use to obtain consent from parents and primary caregivers for release of the information.

Additional Protocols Available Upon Request It is within the authority of the board to ensure controlled and dangerous substances are not used illegally on school grounds, on school buses or at school-sponsored activities. The new law grants boards of education the ability to authorize the medicinal use of marijuana on school grounds, on a school bus, or during a board-approved event, provided that such use is consistent with law and board policy.

If the board wishes to create additional protocols above the legal minimum to verify the registration status and ongoing authorization, a modified policy version is available upon request that contains additional discretionary protocols for checking registration cards and encouraging the development of an individualized health care plan.  Please contact Jean Harkness, NJSBA policy consultant to receive this modified version.