Compact 2020, Helena school leaders to implement vaping safety class

FROM STAFF REPORTS 

HELENA — In partnership with Shelby County Schools, Compact 2020 has introduced an opportunity to educate students and parents about the true dangers associated with vaping through a program called T3—which stands for Teens, Tobacco and Truth.

Currently, all school systems in Shelby County maintain a zero tolerance policy and practice of allowing vape devices in schools or in the possession of students. Furthermore, Alabama state law considers it a criminal violation for a juvenile to possess an e-cigarette or vape device.

Traditionally, when students are identified as violating school policy and Alabama law, school discipline is administered and the School Resource Officer issues a citation.

In addition to this practice, Compact 2020, Helena Middle School and Helena High School are choosing to leverage these incidents to educate not only students but also parents. Beginning in March, if an HMS or HHS student is issued a citation for vaping, possession of an e-cigarette or vape device, the student and parents will be required to attend a two-hour class on Saturday mornings, during which a Compact 2020 investigator will share the dangers associated with vaping and the potential health consequences that have been documented and recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Lung Association.

Captain Clay Hammac, Executive Director of Compact 2020, said of T3, “This is a brilliant opportunity created by the city of Helena and Shelby County Schools to include parents in the critically important conversation we are having with teens about the dangers associated with unhealthy choices. In this case, it is vaping and the harmful impact it will undoubtedly have on our teens for years to come. I applaud Helena High School and Middle School, as well as Helena’s municipal Judge, Judge Portella and the Helena Police Department for the initiative in creating the T3 program.”

The first class is scheduled for March 7 from 10 a.m. until noon at Helena City Hall.