SASD Vaping Policy
January 30, 2019
SASD implements a new vaping policy
The vape is the new take on cigarettes. How is Stroudsburg High School administration coping with students vaping at school? The answer is a new vaping policy.
This policy was approved at a school board meeting in November. The board policy states, “Possession of vaping equipment while under the jurisdiction of the School District will be penalized the same and to the same degree as possession of drug paraphernalia…”
“It’s [the new vaping policy] necessary because we’re finding more and more students that are bringing these items to school,” said principal Mr. Jeffrey Sodl. “I appreciate their [schools board’s] support in trying to create a positive school culture.”
Vaping is the use of an electronic cigarette or similar device to create and inhale/exhale a vapor.
Used for a high, it generates the feeling of smoking, even though it’s not the same. Vaping requires what’s commonly called “e-juice”. It includes propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, any added flavorings, and, most of the time, nicotine.
Since E-cigarettes have been provided in the United States since 2007, there isn’t much time given to view statistics on the long term effects of vaping. However, this doesn’t mean long term effects aren’t possible. Short term effects include addiction, mental ability affects, and possible lung issues.
“Nicotine is a highly addictive substance,” said social studies teacher Mr. Robert Morris. “.”
For cigarette users attempting to overcome addiction, vaping has been known to help. There are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes compared to the four ingredients in E-cigarettes, but e-cigarettes are still not recommended to minors and/or people not already addicted to cigarettes.
The 227 policy on Controlled Substances/Paraphernalia includes the possible penalizations, “…shall be subject to discipline pursuant to the provisions and procedures outlined in the district’s discipline code up to and including expulsion and referral for prosecution. The board may require participation in drug counseling, rehabilitation, testing, or other programs as a condition of reinstatement into the school’s educational, extracurricular or athletic programs resulting from violations of this policy.”
Therefore, students may be penalized up to the degree of expulsion and referral for prosecution. There are other possible penalties listed in the Controlled Substances/Paraphernalia policy, such as drug counseling and rehabilitation.
“I don’t believe students are seeing the dangers we see,” said Sodl.
There are certain limits to this policy, including limiting its enforcement to school grounds and school activities.
The times and places students may be subject to punishments for vaping by the Stroudsburg School District include, stated in School Board policy 227, the time period when a student is going to, at, or coming from school or a school activity.
“I think that vaping can be a good thing for previous smokers,” said another anonymous student at SHS, “but school isn’t the place to be doing it.”
The policy prohibits possession of vaping equipment on school grounds, not just the use of it. To continue, students carrying vaping equipment to use off school grounds may be disciplined equally to the catch of using the equipment on district property.
An anonymous SHS student said, “I vape, but I keep it at home because I know that you can get in trouble at school.”
To view the Vaping Policy, click on the link here, go to “Policies”, and then go to the 200 Pupils category and scroll down for policy 227.1.
Staff, students, and parents weigh in on new SHS Vaping Policy
The SASD vaping policy has been in effect for about a month. Since the policy has been enacted, many changes in the school have occurred. The administration has locked and removed doors on bathrooms, and school security on school lavatories has increased. As a result, many students have trouble accessing bathrooms, and some even claim that their rights are being violated as a result of the vaping policy.
“It is understandable that the staff is trying to crack down on the students vaping in the bathrooms, but those of us that have no interest in that sort of thing feel that it is quite a disturbance that we have to walk all around the school to find an open bathroom, or when we finally do find one the doors are taken off,” said junior Collin West.
However, many students feel that the policy is important to implement, since so many students vape and don’t get caught.
“It is easier to hide than regular drugs, and more often than not the smoke smells like perfume or candy,” said an anonymous student. “I personally haven’t walked in on anybody yet, but I have had multiple friends tell me about how they have. I honestly haven’t seen much change besides for people trying to hide it better.”
Many SHS staff claim that the vaping policy is necessary to implement as well. “I believe that putting the policy in the student handbook will be a positive in the long run,” said English teacher Ms. Ashley Krause.
“We don’t know yet what the oils are doing to the lining of the lungs, it could be just as bad if not worse than cigarettes,” said an anonymous SHS teacher. I still hear of students finding ways to vape and juul in school, and sometimes they are caught but not every single time.”
There are even some parents who have gotten involved in the vaping policy, heavily supporting it. Many parents believe that vaping has negative side effects, and that it’s important for high school students to be positive role models for younger children in the SASD school district.
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing my high school child is around peers who may influence him to believe that it is okay, and that there is no harm in vaping, while he has a younger elementary level sibling that thinks everything he does and says is cool,” says high school parent Angelina Thompson.
Even worse, parents are worried that vaping can lead to addiction. “When I was young we were told there was nothing wrong with smoking nicotine cigarettes, we smoked those all the time without knowing what it was doing to our health, now a bunch of us are addicted for life,” said teen parent Annmarie Gentile . “It was just the cool thing to do back then, just as vaping and juuling is now. We never listened to the adults with their conspiracy on how it could be bad. I just don’t want the younger generations to go down the same path, it’s vaping this year, what about next year.”