District Approves New Policy on Vaping

Posted by Thomas DeLoughry on 11/14/2018

 

The Board of Education approved a new policy this summer to make it clear that possession of vaping devices or the cartridges of material that are used with the devices will not be tolerated. The new statement is included in an amendment to the previously existing student smoking policy. Many of the changes were made to reflect a new New Jersey law that makes it illegal to sell or distribute vaping devices and material to anyone under 21.

The Board’s action came weeks before Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, used strong words to promise action against what he called an “epidemic” of electronic cigarettes and vaping in America. “E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous ‒ and dangerous ‒ trend among teens,” he said in a statement.  “The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end. It’s simply not tolerable.”

 

Students listen to speaker at anti-vaping assembly at Eisenhower School

An anti-vaping assembly at Eisenhower in April 2018.

The Wyckoff policy makes it clear that students are not to have the devices or materials in their possession in school, on school buses, or at school-related events. Principals are also empowered under the policy to request an immediate drug test if a staff member who confiscates a vaping device or cartridge suspects that the student who had the device is under the influence of alcohol of other drugs.

The policy is likely to be most relevant at Eisenhower Middle School, since the vaping issue has come up most frequently at high schools and middle schools rather than elementary schools. Eisenhower had a few disciplinary cases last year related to students who were found to have vaping devices in school. The Wyckoff Police Department sponsored a guest speaker on alcohol and drug issues who spoke to the middle school students about vaping. Vaping is also discussed in the school's health curricula. Administrators have also addressed this issue in a faculty meeting where they circulated the actual devices so teachers could see what they look like. Principal Chris Iasiello and Assistant Principal Chris Giordano spoke about the topic at the start of this academic year in grade-level meetings with all students and then again with parents at Back-to-School Night.

“The administration is trying to be aggressive in prohibiting and restricting it from entering the building,” says Iasiello. “It is unhealthy for you. If you bring it here, you are violating the trust of students, teachers and administrators and we will do everything to keep it out.”

But he concedes that some students are still attracted to the devices. “The challenge is that these are cool-looking devices that can be hidden and charged in a USB port and give off low amounts of vapor so it is easy to conceal them.”

 

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