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Shan Moore's son suffers from a rare affliction called Myoclonus Diaphragmatic Flutter.
"It’s a really bad pain in my chest and it feels like I’m being eaten alive from the inside out," the 16-year-old, under the pseudonym Bill Smith, told the Colorado Independent in January.
Reached by phone today, Moore says his son used to have take "boxes" of pills: "16 different medications twice a day." While he still has to take prescription drugs daily, Bill's use of medical marijuana has reduced the number down to four.
Unfortunately, the teenager wasn't allowed to medicate on school property due to a clause in Amendment 20, as well as district policy. Previously a student at District 2's Harrison High School, Bill was forced to transfer to Sierra High School, a closer school, so that when he felt an attack coming on he could notify his father who would quickly take him home to medicate and then return to school.
Bill was out of school for close to a year before starting at Sierra roughly two weeks ago, and since then has suffered two attacks. But now, Moore says the school has notified him that Bill will no longer be allowed to return to school after medicating, citing a rule prohibiting students from "internal possession" of federally illegal drugs on school property.
"Today he has a mild attack, I go get him his lozenges, and while I'm on the way to go get him, we get a phone call from the school nurse stating that he can't come back because he's going to be high on medical marijuana," Moore says. "He took a lozenge, which is roughly 10 to 15 milligrams; it relaxed his body enough to where he could go back to school, but I couldn't take him back to school 'cause they knew he was coming home to take his medication."
Moore says Sierra officials, including the principal and the district superintendent's secretary, had previously told him the plan would be no problem. After all, Bill had previously ingested far more impactful drugs, under nurse observation, last year at Harrison.
"They let him have his Xanax and his Valium at school, and that knocked him for a bigger loop than the medical marijuana does."
And Sierra did have its concerns, though Moore says they were addressed.
"I talked to the school nurse right after he started, 'cause he had an attack after the first day, and they were worried about him being under the influence during wood shop," Moore says. "[Bill] knows his limitations. If he takes more than 30 milligrams he's not gonna operate anything that's dangerous."
Phone calls to the district's school nurse consultant and media contact have not yet been returned; this blog will be updated accordingly. In the meantime, the father's left waiting for answers.
"I don't understand why for a couple weeks now he's been able to go home, take his medication, and return to school, and all of a sudden he can't," Moore says. "He's not engaging in it on, or in, school grounds."