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BOE contemplates changing vape policy for 21-22 school year

Thursday night, the Decatur County Board of Education met for their regular meeting, where Superintendent Tim Cochran approached the Board about a possible change in their current vaping policy for the 2021-2022 school year.
Cochran said vaping is currently getting out of hand, with the school having to call the ambulance due to students falling out.

“Vaping isn’t allowed in schools, but these kids are hiding it by pretending it’s a jump drive,” he said. “Some of these vapes contain high levels of THC and we’ve had a lot of kids fall out in just this last month from vaping.”

Cochran proposed to combat the situation by a change to the handbook rules.

Currently any student caught with marijuana, even if it is their first offense, is sent to the alternative school, while cigarettes containing nicotine get students suspended.

However, Cochran would like to see all vaping products banned. With faculty members and staff unable to determine if the vapes contain nicotine or THC, the new rule would state any student with a vape is treated as a student with marijuana and they will be sent to the alternative school.

“The health implications these kids don’t realize,” Cochran told the BOE. “We want to send a very clear message.”
Cochran asked the Board to think over the possible new language, because it is something they would have to back up in the event a student appeals their ruling.

“We are just seeing a lot of problems, and we are hoping if we get a little more firm with it the students will stop bringing them in or passing them on to their buddies,” Cochran said.

Board Member Brandon Conley asked Cochran if there would be any harm in changing the rule immediately. Cochran felt it would be unfair to students who were only suspended in the beginning of the year to now not give other students that chance to clear up their actions before being sent to the alternative school.

Conley said he understood and Cochran told the BOE he will circle back around to them before summer to see if they are in favor of changing the current disciplinary action.