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Howell school board amends smoking policy to account for new products

HOWELL – The Howell K-8 School District Board of Education has amended a policy regarding students who smoke in school.

According to the policy, “smoking” means “the burning of, inhaling from, exhaling the
smoke from, or the possession of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco or any other matter that can be smoked.”

The policy prohibits “the inhaling or exhaling of smoke or vapor from an electronic smoking device.” According to the policy, “smoking” also includes the use of smokeless tobacco and snuff.

In the amended policy, the line “or any cartridge or other component of the device or related product” has been added.

The amended policy says state law prohibits the sale or distribution to anyone under 21 any cigarettes made of tobacco or any other matter or substance which can be smoked, or any cigarette paper or tobacco in any form, including smokeless tobacco; and any electronic device that can be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, cigar,
cigarillo, pipe, or any cartridge or other component of the device or related product.

Consequences for a student who is found to be in possession of such an item will be made in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.

The board prohibits smoking by students at any time in school buildings, on school grounds, at school-sponsored events away from school, on a school bus, or on any transportation vehicle supplied by the board.

Board member Al Miller explained why he did not want to limit the language of the policy to a “school bus.”

“I feel we should leave it as ‘any transportation vehicle supplied by the board.’ We have vehicles that are not school buses. I received some clarification from (Assistant Superintendent/Pupil Services Patricia Callander) stating that ‘school bus’ under the code includes (other) vehicles. However, I have been a board member for more than seven years and I would not have known that, and if a parent reads that it just causes confusion,” Miller said.

Callander confirmed for the board that “school bus” is the terminology used for many types of school transportation vehicles.

Board members decided to include the phrase “or any vehicle supplied by the board’ in the policy.

The policy states that all vaping devices confiscated from students will be turned over to the police department to be tested for illegal substances. After a vaping device has been tested, it may be returned to the student’s parent, upon request. All students found to be in possession of a vaping device will be required to undergo a medical examination that includes drug testing.

School administrators will be trained to identify controlled dangerous substances in electronic smoking devices, according to the policy.

The previous policy deferred to the municipal jurisdiction if the law was broken. The amended policy states that “a student found to have violated this policy and the law may be required to participate in additional educational programs to help the student understand the harmful effects of smoking and to discourage the use of tobacco products.

“These programs may include, but are not limited to, counseling, smoking information programs, and/or smoking cessation programs sponsored by this school district or available through approved outside agencies.”

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