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Mernda’s Cooper Wallace pulled out of school, mum told not to administer medicinal marijuana on scho

Cassie Batten and Rhett Wallace have pulled Cooper out of prep after the Education Department refused to let Cooper take medicinal marijuana on school grounds.

THE parents of Cooper Wallace weren’t sure if he’d make it to school and now that he has they’ve been forced to remove him from the classroom. Cooper, 5, has severe epilepsy and relies on cannabis oil to rid him of the seizures that plague him on an almost daily basis. This year he started Prep at Diamond Valley Special Development School but last Monday Cooper’s mum Cassie Batten was advised she could not administer his medicinal cannabis on the school grounds. “Last Monday was his first full day and we went there to give his cannabis oil as planned at lunchtime and went into his classroom and the teacher said, ‘Oh you can’t give it here’,” Ms Batten said. The school told her to take Cooper to the footpath outside the school or to the car park next door. Ms Batten said she was shocked because they’d discussed Cooper’s treatment with the school during his enrolment and there were no issues raised. “We weren’t advised that we had to remove him from school grounds,” she said. “We’re happy to go into another room to do it but we should not have to leave the school grounds it’s not safe.”

Premier Daniel Andrews visited Cooper to wish him luck on his first day of school.

The school has also reported the family to child services.

“The principal called us in the week before and said that he’d been advised by the department he had to put in a notification to child protection that they had a child at school they believed was given this oil,” Ms Batten said. “They said it was just a protocol, a legality from the education department and nothing would come of it, which nothing did. ”Education Minister James Merlino said the Education Department had been in touch with the school and Cooper’s family and that they and the Department of Health and Human Services support Cooper in staying in school and in receiving his medication. “Our primary concern is Cooper’s welfare and his education, and what’s needed here is a commonsense approach to ensure he is able to stay in school,” Mr Merlino said.

But Ms Batten said when the Education Department phoned her on Monday afternoon they told her a different story. “We were told they were waiting on advice from Victoria Police and I should hear back from them on Wednesday,” she said. Until then Ms Batten said Cooper wouldn’t be attending school. She said if the department refuses to allow Cooper to take his treatment at school the only other option was to hide the cannabis oil in his food. “I don’t think it’s morally right that they (teachers) feed it to him unknowingly,” she said. “We just want to try and get him back to school.”

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