Florida high school official fired for using legal medical marijuana
David Bienenstock November 24, 2020
When a fight broke out among students at Belleview High School in central Florida, school official Mike Hickman entered the fray and put his body on the line to intervene. Nothing in the school’s administrative code tasked him with risking himself to secure his students’ safety, but he did so anyway.
A school official’s good deed didn’t go unpunished: He was fired after stepping in to stop a schoolyard fight.
A Marine combat veteran who suffered serious injuries while serving in the 1990-1991 Gulf War, Hickman has spent the past thirty years living with chronic pain from those wounds—and from a string of surgeries he underwent to heal them. For a time he relied on prescribed opioids for relief, but then found cannabis worked far better. He could gain relief without the serious side effects—and risk of addiction and overdose—that came with opioid use.
Hickman performed his job at Belleview—where he worked as the school’s student services manager—admirably, for years, while privately managing his medical condition.
Then came the schoolyard fight.
Punished for his good deed
It happened a year ago, in Nov. 2019.
While breaking up the brawl, Hickman suffered a new injury—one serious enough to require a visit to a worker’s compensation doctor. Acting on behalf of his employer, that doctor required him to submit a urine sample. The sample wasn’t part of Hickman’s treatment. Its only purpose was to test for drug use.