Legalization of cannabis and our schools
On October 17, 2018, cannabis will be legal to use, buy, possess and cultivate in Canada for persons over 19 years of age. For our students, the possession and use of cannabis is illegal.
We know that this change in legislation has raised many questions and possible concerns regarding how the change will affect schools. Rest assured that our staff are prepared and able to handle any issues that may arise from students using cannabis or any other controlled substances at school. Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) has existing procedures in place that outlines necessary steps for staff to follow when students are in possession of or are using drugs.
Our staff have the safety and well-being of our students in mind at all times and will continue to ensure that students are aware of the dangers of drug use and the consequences they could face as a result of their use while at school.
Here you will find some Frequently Asked Questions to provide you with more information on how we are prepared for the legalization of cannabis. As well, we have shared links to resources that you may find helpful to help guide conversations with your children relating to the dangers of drug use.
If you have any questions or concerns about how your child’s school will handle the legalization of cannabis, please do not hesitate to contact the school principal.
Cannabis Legalization FAQ for families
Yes. Cannabis is mentioned in many different subjects including, Health and Physical Education, Social Sciences and Humanities and Canadian and World Students – Law. The Health and Physical Education curriculum covers substance abuse, addictions and related behaviours in a fulsome and age-appropriate manner. The learning in this area aims to discourage and prevent drug use while helping students understand how to make healthy choices and connections to living a healthy life. Students learn about cannabis and other illegal drugs in the Healthy Living Component of the Health and Physical Education curriculum.
Currently, there is no resource specific to substance abuse in the curriculum. However, the Ministry of Education provides information for families about what students learn in the Health and Physical Education curriculum. Information for Grades 1-8 can be found within the curriculum document and an overview of what students learn is available for Grades 9-12. The Ministry of Education is monitoring developments related to the legalization of cannabis and will update documents and resources as necessary to ensure students learn accurate and up-to-date information.
Yes. Cannabis is prohibited for students regardless of age, to use or be in possession of on school property or during school-related activities. A suspension is one possible outcome that a student may face. Many factors are taken into consideration when it comes to student discipline and suspensions. You can find more information on how WRDSB handles student discipline in our Administrative Procedure – 1260 Student Discipline. The Ministry of Education also provides information relating to suspension and expulsions and a Guide to the Ontario Code of Conduct that outlines expectations for behaviour for all members of a school community that families may find helpful.
Creating an open and trusting environment where your children feel comfortable is the first step when it comes to having difficult conversations. We know that this can be difficult, so we have gathered some resources that can help start these conversations.
School Mental Health ASSIST has a fact sheet for parents and caregivers that provides information on the cannabis legalization, how to spot signs of a problem, risks associated with the use of cannabis and how to help your child.
The Government of Canada has tips for parents on how to talk to their teen about drugs and tips on preventing drugs use by developing resiliency in teens.
Drug Free Kids Canada has a Cannabis Talk Kit designed to help parents have conversations with their children about the dangers of using cannabis.
As we receive more information on the legalization of cannabis and how it impacts schools, we will provide updates to families.