School response

November 15, 2018

The FDA has deemed teenage vape usage an epidemic and in coming years, nicotine use by young adults is projected to increase. The prevalence of the issue has made administration more aware of the impacts that come with vaping and has caused them to look for ways to handle the issue.

Assistant Principal Joe Mismas said the administration wants students to recognize that there are consequences for vaping. If a student is caught vaping on campus, the student and the parent need to register for an Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug (ATOD) class within 72 hours. The second offense involves a one-day suspension in addition to taking another ATOD class. But by the third offense, Mismas said the administration will treat it as a drug or alcohol violation.

“It is a 10-day suspension that can be reduced to five days. To get it reduced, the student has to go in for an assessment, follow the recommendations, attend the ATOD class again and meet with our prevention intervention specialist,” Mismas said. “If the student does those three things, we bring them back after those five days.”

Although the administration wants students to be more aware of the consequences, Mismas said it is just as important to take preventative measures to make sure that students are not vaping in the first place. Some examples of these measures include talking about the issue through parent newsletters and taping anti-vaping signs made by the FDA in the bathrooms. However, the administration is also trying to face the vaping epidemic head-on.

“We’re trying to be more visible out there by monitoring the bathrooms during breaks and asking specific questions about reasonable suspicions; we want to be proactive,” Mismas said.

This year, Mismas said there was a lot of discussion at the district level about how to approach the vaping epidemic. On Nov. 7, the district invited parents, students, school staff and community members to attend a presentation on tobacco use and the changing face of tobacco products.

“As a district and as a school, we need to continue to be on the forefront of what is being marketed and what is new out there,” Mismas said.

Although the vaping epidemic will likely continue to be an ongoing challenge in all schools, Hill and Mismas said they are open to taking suggestions on how to handle it.

“If there’s more that we need to be doing from the student perspective, the parent perspective or the staff perspective, we want to know what those ideas are,” Mismas said.

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