State Board of Education approves substance use and abuse health education rule

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran applauded the State Board of Education for requiring accountability in the delivery of age appropriate substance use and abuse health education for students in grades K-12. This initiative builds on similar requirements for mental health education adopted by the State Board of Education last month. The new requirement takes effect this school year.

“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 Commissioner Richard 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.”

With the implementation of this plan, school districts must annually provide a plan and report on how students in grades K-12 receive youth substance use and abuse health education.

“The State Board of Education is committed to putting the needs students first,” said Chair 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.”

By December 1 of each year, each school district must submit an implementation plan to the commissioner post the plan on the school district website. The implementation plan must include:

·         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.

Another important rule that was adopted was the Mandatory Reporting of Offenses Affecting the Health, Safety and Welfare of Florida Students. This rule will require quick reporting to the Department of Education by school districts when there are allegations of misconduct by school district staff that affect the health, safety or welfare of a student. Additionally, the rule will clarify the alleged misconduct that requires quick reporting and the information that should be reported. This will promote the expeditious investigation of complaints by the Department of Education, as well as allowing a timely mechanism for the Commissioner of Education to exercise his authority to recommend removal of school district personnel from direct student contact.