Renee Petro has already been living a parent’s worst nightmare for years: her 12-year-old son Branden suffers from a rare form of pediatric epilepsy called FIRES, which causes uncontrolled seizures that can be fatal. On Tuesday, a new nightmare began for the family, when Florida Child Protective Services showed up at their home to investigate an anonymous tip that Renee was not administering Branden’s prescription anti-seizure medication and was instead treating him with Cannabis extract.
“I’ve never used Cannabis medicine for Branden,” says Renee. “I know fully well that Cannabis would help him, but because I live in an “illegal” state we have never tried it. I have not broken any laws.”
What Renee has done, however, is advocate loudly for reform both in Florida and across the country, organizing parent’s rallies and speaking to the media, calling for broad-based medical cannabis legislation that could help her son as well as many others. Ladybud has reported on Renee’s activism numerous times.
“I feel like our family was targeted,” says Renee, “just because I’m doing what our beautiful country is built on: Freedom of Speech. I’m just trying to change and better the world that we live in.”
When the CPS investigator arrived at the family’s residence, Renee was picking up her 9-year-old daughter Rachel from school and Branden was at home with his visiting nurse. The nurse frantically called Renee to tell her that an investigator was at the door and Renee rushed home, fearing the worst.
When Renee arrived, the CPS investigator explained that she would have to question the children in a separate room so that Renee could not influence their answers. The investigator isolated a terrified Rachel from Renee and asked the child, “Does your mother give your brother illegal drugs?” Renee says the investigator also asked Rachel other questions that did not directly pertain to Branden’s medical treatment. “She asked Rachel if I was “nice” and if she felt safe – these questions were totally not what the tip was about – they were asking more about if I’m some bad person or bad mother. They were making me out to be a monster.”
– Read the entire article at Ladybud.
Anyone wishing to offer support to the Petro family can contact [email protected]