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No-tobacco policy updated by Beaver Local board

CALCUTTA — Beaver Local students who are caught vaping may be facing fines in juvenile court in the near future.

On Monday, the board of education approved an update to its no-tobacco policy in the middle and high school student handbook, adding electronic cigarettes and other items used for vaping to the list of tobacco products that students are not allowed to use or possess at school or at any school-related events.

The practice of using e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, was initially used by those trying to curb or quit smoking, but has now been used by high school students on a recreational level.

The practice is also known as Juuling, named after the product Juuls, which bears similar in design to a USB device and can easily be concealed. A Juul cartridge reportedly lasts about 200 puffs and also reportedly contain as much nicotine as a standard pack of cigarettes.

Superintendent Eric Lowe addressed the latest trend, and felt that many may not be aware of the dangers for teenagers.

According to Lowe and the policy, students who are caught using Juuls, e-cigarettes or other tobacco products on school property or events are subject to disciplinary action, which on the first offense can include an in-school (or out-of-school) suspension and completion of education classes related to the dangers and risks of tobacco and nicotine.

Lowe said those classes are part of “Vape Educate”, an online program in which the school will also work with the parents to help the students understand such dangers and problems. If caught a second time and on reoccurring offenses, the student can be cited by St. Clair Township police for illegal use of tobacco and face a $125 fine in juvenile court.

“Our goal is to educate people and work with them so that their parents and them can understand the dangers and the need to not engage in that behavior, but for repeat offenses, which we sometimes do have, it enables us to take that next step so that people can see the seriousness in it,” Lowe said.

The motion was approved with a 3-0 vote, with board members Patrick Clutter and Lance Shultz absent.

In other business, the board:

— Approved an agreement with Kent State University for its College Credit Plus program for the 2019-2020 school year.

— Approved the addition of Heather Bouscher on its volunteer list, and the addition of Nicole Fisher as a substitute for the current school year.

Treasurer Stacy Williams reported that the OSFCC project has been completed, and that the school district will be receiving $260,592, which will go toward the permanent improvement fund.

The next meeting will be 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at the eighth grade pod, located on the second floor of the K-12 building on Bell School Road.

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