Vaping at Madison City Schools yields serious consequences

MADISON, Ala. - School administrators are warning parents and students of the serious consequences that can happen if a student is caught with a vaping device on school property.

“When I was hired, this was one of the top priorities on our agenda," said safety coordinator David West.

He’s talking about the issue of vaping in schools. It’s an issue nationwide -- in fact, according to the U.S. surgeon general, it’s an epidemic.

"I don’t think the kids and the parents understand the dangers of vaping," West said.

School administrators want to reiterate that they have a zero tolerance policy for vaping on campus.

“We classify vaping and the instrument itself as drug paraphernalia," West said.

That means even if a student is caught with just the device, and/or with no juice, they will suffer the same consequences as getting caught using it.

“They’re suspended out of school for five days, pending an administrative hearing," he said.  "Based on that hearing they can face consequence of alternative school.”

Students can be in alternative school anywhere between 25 and 45 days. West said that about half of students that attended alternative school last year were in alternative school because of vaping. And students are being caught with vape pens weekly.

“It’s weekly at our high schools," West said.  "We don’t see it as much at our middle schools, but it’s common.”

The school system works hard to integrate education about the dangers of vaping at all ages. The school system plans to host one parent forum per semester this school year to educate parents on the dangers and consequences of vaping. The school system also plans to start a student anti-vaping campaign.

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