An elementary school teacher is fighting to save her career after she says she was fired from her job for using medical marijuana.
Marta MacCullagh, who worked as a second-grade teacher at Endeavour Elementary Magnet School in Cocoa, Fla., was charged with violation of the district’s drug-free workplace policy and was terminated from her job on Tuesday, the Brevard Times reported. She had been with the district for over four years.
The educator told Orlando news station WFTV that she’s been registered as a medical-marijuana user in Florida for more than a year. The outlet reported that the Brevard School District was sent a video of MacCullagh with a pipe in November. MacCullagh was subjected to a drug test, which found marijuana in her system, the outlet reported. But since she’s been on Florida’s medical-marijuana registry for more than a year, she didn’t think she’d violated school policy.
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong in my mind. It wasn’t something that was going to be a problem,” MacCullagh told WFTV. “I had a prescription for it just like every other prescription from a doctor.”
The school district, meanwhile, issued a statement to WFTV in defense of its policy: “Any employee who tests positive to a controlled substance, as defined in our drug-free workplace policy, is subject to disciplinary action — up to and including termination.”
The Brevard Times reported that school district superintendent Mark Mullins recommended that the Brevard County School Board fire MacCullagh, and the school board approved the request. Mullins didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo’s request for comment.
The teacher told WFTV that in addition to the fact that she’s lost her job, she’s worried she may lose her teaching certification. MacCullagh has hired an attorney to fight what she feels was a wrongful termination, WFTV reported.
“I was never putting my children in jeopardy,” she said. “I love my job, I love my children. This is what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to teach.”
A similar situation unfolded in Waterbury, Conn., last year. Abigail Peck, who’d been hired by B.W. Tinker Elementary School, claimed she was terminated after she disclosed her medical-marijuana usage, Hartford, Conn., news station WFSB reported. Peck filed a lawsuit against the local school system.
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