SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane School District says they are catching a large amount of students vaping in school. While they do have some consequences in place, they're looking at possibly making those punishments more severe.
Some high school principals will be presenting to the school board in Wednesday night's meeting.
Right now, there's a process in place if a school finds a student vaping. The discipline includes education, smoking cessation, maybe even writing an essay, being excluded from school activities and short-term suspensions.
“We've talked through a number of different ways, administratively. That administrative accountability, that has helped, but tonight's discussion will be more about adding to that list of potential consequences,” said Brian Coddington, with Spokane Public Schools.
A new consequence that will be taking money out of your wallet.
The proposal makes it a Class C Civil Infraction, for 16 and 17-year-old repeat offenders, just like a traffic ticket.
The student would have to go to court and face a judge, who could impose a $103 fine and/or community service.
For kids under 15, it would be referred to juvenile court.
“The board will discuss with administrative staff what that looks like and what the pros and cons are, and alternatives to what a citation might be,” Coddington said.
It's a possibility they hope will curb vape use among students.
In the first month of school this year, students were caught vaping 72 times. This is in line with the previous school year, when there were 75 incidents in just 31 days.
“So far this year, through the 31 days of schooldays, we've seen a leveling off,” he said. “Which, I suppose, is a positive thing, but the numbers are way too high for anyone to be comfortable with.”
Coddington says the schools and administrative staff have gone through a few steps to make sure kids are not vaping, but it's not working very well
“They've limited access to areas that it's been most prevalent, so, stairways, restroom facilities, they've added extra eyes and ears,” he said. “It's really been a challenge to cover all those spaces, so this is why we have this discussion on how to expand those efforts that have already been made.”
In Wednesday night's meeting, the school board will look into this possibility of giving a fine, in hopes to stop kids from vaping.
“It's something that the nation and nation's schools are struggling with now, to figure out how to deal with, to be really proactive in the education piece and really work with families become a unit and become a partner in ending this,” Coddington said.
Coddington added that the school board and district are aware that many of their students are on free or reduced lunches. He said they want to make an informed decision before doing so.
This was just one topic of the board meeting Wednesday. No action will be taken on it just yet.
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