DENVER – Kerrie Dallman, president of the Colorado Education Association, today announced CEA’s opposition to Amendment 64, the amendment to legalize marijuana use in Colorado, and the Association’s reasons for endorsing the “No on 64” campaign at a press conference held in the CEA building.
“We remain incredibly concerned about the impact of having additional access to marijuana would have on our students and our schools,” said Dallman.
A social studies teacher at Pomona High School in Arvada, Dallman said she has seen the harmful impact marijuana use has on students.
“I could see over the course of a semester or a year [these students’] motivation decrease dramatically, and I could begin to see the real effects of depression begin to set in, and that had real and lasting impacts on their success in school,” Dallman said.
CEA Vice President Amie-Baca Oehlert, a high school guidance counselor, said she too saw students with substance abuse problems coming into her office “who were failing classes, having no motivation to do their work.
“The more access there is to marijuana, the more probability there is that students will be using at higher levels,” Baca-Oehlert said. “We want to cut off access and have our students find other ways to cope with things that are going in their lives.
“We know that students face many challenges in their personal lives,” added Baca-Oehlert. “As educators, we have a duty and a responsibility to give them real ways to cope, [through] other avenues, other resources.”
Supporters of Amendment 64 have pointed to legalized marijuana sales as a fix for school districts still hurting from years of budget cuts. Happy Haynes, a school board member from Denver Public Schools, dismissed marijuana sales as a valid school funding measure.
“I don’t want to be part of a state that uses drug money to fund education,” said Happy Haynes, school board member of Denver Public School. “I want to be part of a state that recognizes how important education is to the vitality of our communities, to the health of our communities, and our families and our children. And we step up as citizens to fund education the way in should be funded, and not through the use of drug money.”
Dallman agreed, saying public schools need increased investment, “but funding it through the sale of marijuana is not the way that we support and sustain a great public education for our students here in Colorado.”
Dallman characterized Amendment 64 as “a diversion from the conversation we should be having about public education here in Colorado.”
See videos of Dallman and Baca-Oehlert at the press conference on CEA’s YouTube channel.
Haynes, Baca-Oehlert and Dallman speak to the media on their endorsement of the “No on 64” campaign.