Talk of fining students for vaping has Spokane school board members divided

Spokane Public Schools held a board meeting on Wednesday to discuss possible solutions to curb student vaping on school property.

Students caught vaping at school are already required to go through several interventional progams.

Now board members are considering adding a $103 fine.

If caught, 16 and 17-year-old students would have to go to court and face a judge, who could impose the $103 fine and/or community service.

Fifteen-year-old students would be faced with juvenile court.

READ: Spokane School Board considering fining students $103 if caught vaping at school

It’s a punishment not all board members agree with. In fact, at least three said they were uncomfortable with the idea of fining students, but they all agreed vaping- especially in school bathrooms- is a problem that needs to be addressed.

In the 2017-18 school year, 181 students were caught using vape and tobacco products on campus.

One year later, the number jumped to 560 students.

It’s not just high schoolers sneaking puffs.

“Elementary numbers are still relatively small but it’s alarming that they are as young as elementary kids,” said district spokesperson Brian Coddington.

Students will typically vape in bathrooms during passing periods. Lewis and Clark Pricipal Marybeth Smith says one student became so uncomfortable, she used the hospital bathroom next door.

“People will avoid the restrooms during passing periods because it’s not a good, healthy, safe environment so they’ll wait, go to class, get a pass and miss learning to use the restroom then,”

Administrators say enough is enough. In addition to drug couseling, essay writing and other programs students are put through, some think they should be fined.

Others aren’t so sure.

According to administrators, Mead and Central Valley have vape citations already in place.

While board members didn’t vote on the idea Wednesday, it’s something they’ll continue to discuss.