Southwest school district addresses vaping trend

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Southwest adds policy for vaping

School districts continually face new obstacles that threaten their students’ safety, and recently, schools have had to adopt polices for the fast growing trend of vaping.

E-cigarettes have gained popularity compared to traditional cigarettes, and there are concerns about this new fad that worry administrators.

Tosha Tilford, Southwest superintendent, said she is concerned about the safety of her students.

“This is dangerous,” she said. “That is all there is to it.”

President Donald Trump looks at the issue on a national level and has decided to take a strong stand on the matter.

“[Vaping] has become a very big business in a short amount of time,” he said during a press conference. “We can’t allow people to get sick, and we can’t have our youth be so affected.”

According to Tilford, when she realized what a health hazard vaping was, she started to ask her administrators if it was a problem in the district.

“We started to notice that the students were bringing them to school,” she said. “And, they were getting them from parents or older siblings.”

This shows the problem there is with children having access to these devices.

“Then, we realized that they could have THC or nicotine in them,” she said. “It is obviously a health concern to inhale anything, but that is an added concern.”

E-cigarettes have been around for a while now, but Tilford believes it has just recently entered the school at such a high rate.

“We are seeing it more and more this year,” she said. “That is when we decided to sit down, make decisions and take this to the next level.”

The school district amended the district’s policy and added vaping to the list of don’ts.

“We have one of the strictest policies around here,” she said. “But, that is okay — it isn’t a bad thing.”

Tilford said it definitely feels that no matter what policies are put into place that something new will always pop up.

“A few years ago, the big problem was synthetic marijuana,” she said. “It seems like a challenge to just keep up with the newest fad.”

This really caught Tilford’s attention when she realized she didn’t know what her students could be ingesting.

“People are talking about this and its health risks all over the U.S.,” she said. “We need to take this seriously.”

Tilford said she is not willing to risk the health of students by allowing vaping at the school.

“The fact of the mater is, we are facing something that can cause harm to our children,” she said.

The Southwest vaping policy states that if the vape tests positive for THC, the administrator is to immediately refer to the portion of the policy that references drug possession, distribution and use on school property.

If a student is found in possession or use of any vaping products on district property, district transportation or at any district activity, based on offense, the student will receive anywhere from 3-180 days of out-of-school suspension or equivalent alternative discipline.

The policy also states the punishments are the same for sale, purchase or distribution of any vaping product on school district property, transportation or at any activity.

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