Richard Corcoran, Casey DeSantis Help Board of Education Implement Substance Abuse Initiative

This week the State Board of Education is implementing an initiative focused on substance abuse for students in grades K-12.

The new initiative and one passed last month by the board on mental health education will start with the new school year.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran gave First Lady Casey DeSantis a tip of the cap on Wednesday.

“I want to thank First Lady Casey DeSantis for leading us on this crucial aspect to ensuring children are able to receive a world class education,” said Corcoran. “Students not only deserve to know and understand the perils of substance use and abuse, they need to have the vital skills necessary to ward off the temptations that might confront them. This rule is another step to ensuring Florida is the national leader in providing students with the tools they need for success both academically and in life.”

“The State Board of Education is committed to putting the needs students first,” said board Chairman Andy Tuck. “We firmly believe that a balanced education that includes instruction on substance use and abuse is absolutely essential to a student’s lifelong success.”

Under the new plan, school districts across Florida “must annually provide a plan and report on how students in grades K-12 receive youth substance use and abuse health education” which needs to be submitted by December 1 and included on the district’s website.

The plans must include the following:

The specific courses in which instruction will be delivered for each grade level.

The professional qualifications of the person delivering instruction.

A description of the materials and resources utilized to deliver instruction.

Additionally, by July 1 of each year, each school district must submit an annual report to the commissioner to verify completion of the instruction.

The board also adopted a rule entitled “Mandatory Reporting of Offenses Affecting the Health, Safety and Welfare of Florida Students.” Under the rule, school districts must quickly report to the Department of Education by school “allegations of misconduct by school district staff that affect the health, safety or welfare of a student.”

Florida’s first lady weighed in on the new rules on Wednesday.

“Nothing is more important to parents than the safety and well-being of their children, which is why this accountability initiative is vitally important,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “Ensuring Florida students understand the implications and ramifications of drug abuse will not only save lives but also help foster a healthy and productive learning environment. I commend the Commissioner of Education, Richard Corcoran, and the State Board of Education for continuing to put an emphasis on the personal health and well-being of every student.”


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