ACS cracking down on vaping in schools

Published 10:21 am Friday, January 18, 2019

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City School system is “taking a hard stance against vaping in our schools,” and is enacting harsher penalties for students caught with vaping devices, according to information distributed to parents in mid-January.

ACS is enacting the policy in an effort to combat what school leaders said is a growing nationwide vaping trend among teens.

“Unfortunately, Thompson is not immune to it. It is being advertised more and more and promoted as being a cool, safe alternative to smoking,” said ACS Coordinator of Student Services Dorann Tanner.

Tanner said ACS isn’t seeing more issues with vaping than any other school system, but said the recent move is an attempt to head off the issue before it worsens.

“I don’t know that we are having more than any other school but we want to be proactive and help kids understand the danger while giving a deterrent to help kids say no to peer pressure and provide thorough education about the dangers to both parents and students,” Tanner said. “It is highly addictive, and easier for teens to hide from parents due to the small size and the lack of smoking smell. Parents may not even be aware how popular it is or that their child is using it.”

Moving forward, students caught with vape will face legal penalties in Alabaster Municipal Court.

“If a student is caught with vape, the school resource officer will issue a citation and they will handle that process through municipal court,” Tanner wrote in an email. “They will have to pay a fine and may have to pay additional costs such as court fees, etc., as they are breaking the law by being in possession.”

As far as school consequences, students caught with vape will face a Class III violation, and will be assigned to alternative school, or have the option of choosing to attend a four-hour class in lieu of alternative school.

The first class will be Feb. 9 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the ACES building next to Alabaster City Hall. In order to receive credit, the student must attend the completed class and participate, and the student’s parent must attend the final hour from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

“If the student fails to successfully complete the class, they must serve the alternative school time starting immediately,” Tanner wrote. “The classes will be scheduled monthly and will be facilitated by a licensed counselor from Bradford Health Services.”

The classes are free, and parents can request their children attend even if they aren’t facing disciplinary action from the school, Tanner said.

The dangers of vaping will be a topic during Compact 2020’s Parent University in the THS Performing Arts Center on March 7 from 6-8:30 p.m.