By Sterling McGinn
In an effort to combat the issue of students vaping on school grounds, TAS (Tahquamenon Area Schools) has implemented and released a new discipline protocol backed by law enforcement.
The use of vaping devises has been a big issue within the district mostly in grades 7-12. But in a statement released by the school, the use of vaping devises has been found in lower grades.
A vaping devise, also known as an e-cigarette, allows the user to inhale flavored nicotine vapor instead of smoke.
During the March meeting of the TAS Board of Education, TAS Superintendent Stacy Price said she had met with Luce County Sheriff Eric Gravelle, Luce County Prosecutor Josh Freed and probation officers to come up with a plan to discipline students who were caught vaping in the facility.
The group discussed laws, district policies, and how each agency can help.
Effective immediately, TAS students found in possession of a vaping devise will receive three days of suspension and will be referred to law enforcement.
A civil infraction will be issued for first two offenses. A third offense will be a misdemeanor, a lesser crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time. A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony.
Students will be issued a $150 fine for a first offense and will be required to complete 10 hours of community service. If the student has a second offense, another $150 fine will be issued, a risk assessment will be completed, and 10 more hours of community service will be required.
Another $150 fine will have to be paid if a student has a third vaping offense, and the student will have to complete risk assessment and 20 hours of community service. This will also be treated as a misdemeanor by the prosecutor’s office.
The school district is encouraging parents to talk to their children about vaping, covering the long-term health consequences and how addictive vaping is.
Earlier this year, Manistique Area Schools, in conjunction with the Youth Tobacco Act, released a protocol for disciplining students caught vaping or with vape devices.