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In the News

Penalties for vaping in school toughened

By Cyndi Sellers

The use of electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes,” often referred to as “vaping,” is becoming an epidemic in the United States among teens, including those in Cameron Parish. “We have a situation across the parish as a whole with e-cigarettes and vaping, some in the classroom,” said School Superintendent Charley Lemons at Mondays’ School Board meeting. “Cameron is not the only parish fighting this. It’s an epidemic, and stronger discipline is needed.”

School administrators and School Board staff have proposed stronger penalties for students caught with “tobacco or tobacco products, and/or lighter material, and/or simulated/electronic tobacco products/devices/electronic smoking devices.” Use or possession now results in confiscation and disposal of the material and one day of in-school suspension for the first offense, with one day out-of-school suspension for the second offense. A third offense could result in expulsion.

Under the proposed revision to the Code of Conduct, the first offense would result in 1-2 days out-of-school suspension; the second offense 2-4 days OSS; the third offense would remain the same.

Teachers have recently caught students using the small e-cigarette devices in class. The newer devices look like jump drives used in computers, and produce no visible vapor or scent. “You don’t know what’s in them,” said Lemons. “They are not necessarily harmless.”

The revision will be voted upon at next month’s meeting, along with new guidelines regarding sports team “supplemental rules.” School Board members are concerned that the supplemental rules coaches and cheer or dance sponsors create for their squads vary greatly in severity, especially between boys and girls activities.

Proposed policy revisions would require the rules to be reviewed by the principal, school superintendent, and parish athletic director. School Board members asked to be advised on the content of the rules so they can answer questions from constituents.

To read the rest of this story, please see page two of the print edition of The Cameron Parish Pilot.

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