Oct 9, 2018

Policy Change Would Increase Discipline for Vaping, Juuling Possession

Vaping illustration

Possessing and using e-cigarettes and similar devices designed for vaping will become a much more serious offense if the Board of Education approves proposed changes to the student handbooks at its Oct. 22 meeting.

The school board had a first reading Monday night to changes in the junior high and high school handbooks, making possession of any device used to inhale or ingest foreign substances while on district property at a school-sponsored event a drug offense violation. A policy typically is introduced to the school board at one meeting and voted on at a subsequent meeting, which provides time for public comment.

This change affects all students, regardless of whether they participate in activities covered by the athletic handbook.

Previously, possession of these devices was covered under the district’s tobacco policy. If approved by the board, this change would increase the severity of the offense to a drug policy violation.

Covered devices include e-cigarettes, vaporizers, and Juuls, the latter of which look very much like a small flash drive and can be charged in a computer’s USB port.

If a student is found to be in possession of such devices, parents will have the option of providing a drug test (at their expense) within 24 hours of the violation. The results of this test must show the student has no illegal substance in his or her system. Parents should note, though, that even with a “clean” drug test the student will still be considered to be in violation of the district’s policies regarding smoking and use of tobacco, and will be disciplined following the current student code of conduct.

“Viewing possession and use of these devices as a drug violation has already been our practice for student athletes,” said Assistant Superintendent Bob Blackburn. “If this change is approved, we will be extending that definition to students in general. This is one part of our expanded efforts to counter the drug epidemic facing our country and our community. E-cigarettes, Juuls, and vaporizers can not only be used to ingest nicotine, but they also can be used by our students to smoke marijuana or its active ingredients.”

Student handbooks already make it a violation of Board policy to “possess, solicit, use, conceal, sell, offer to sell, purchase, be under the influence of, show evidence of consumption, supply, distribute, or transmit any substance, or otherwise violate Board Policy.”

“Possession” includes, but is not limited to, retention of a substance on the student’s person or in a purse, wallet, locker, desk, or vehicle. Included in this prohibition are the possession of drug paraphernalia, which includes, but is not limited to rolling papers, and other items use to inject, inhale, administer, deliver, ingest or otherwise consume a substance.