A special needs educator working in a public school in Allen, Texas was suspended and subsequently fired from her job earlier this year over a Facebook post vaguely promoting the supposed health benefits of CBD.
According to a deep dive feature from Reason, Kerri Owens, a special education aide to a local high school student, posted a meme to her own personal Facebook page in May, comparing the hemp-derived CBD oils to common pharmaceuticals.
"Is CBD good for you?" the meme asked, before answering its own question. "Well your body has an endocannabinoid system. It doesn't have a Zoloft or ibuprofen system. Case closed."
Owens said that she had never purchased, consumed, sold, or produced any CBD products at the time of her post, but had been struggling with severe migraines. She said she thought the image could spark conversation and advice from her social media friends. At work the next week, though, Owens discovered that not everyone in her social network had found the meme thought provoking. Owens was called into the principal’s office and put on immediate administrative leave. One week later, she was fired.
Gallery — Feel-Good CBD Memes You Can't Get High On:
"I worked there for three years. Never had issues with my employer," Owens told Reason. "It was really a surprise to me that they wouldn't have tried to talk to me about it or give me some other kind of disciplinary action besides just fire me."
Between her suspension and dismissal, Owens said she met with an HR representative to plead her teetotaling case and try to explain the differences between CBD and THC. Still, the administration did not budge on its decision.
Now, after consulting a lawyer about the boundaries of free speech, Owens is considering filing a lawsuit for compensation due to unjust termination. Owens said that the school district has so far offered to write her a positive letter of recommendation, but only if she agrees not to sue.
As the rest of the country continues to exercise more leniency when it comes to cannabis, school districts across Texas have taken a hard line on weed this year. In addition to Owens’ firing, one San Antonio district recently implemented a zero tolerance expulsion policy for students caught with THC vape pens. Another Lone Star State district implemented a policy requiring all 7th graders to submit to drug tests before participating in extracurricular activities.
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