Lebanon, other schools crack down on students for vaping

A three-strike policy approved this week in the Lebanon City School District for students caught vaping — and for their parents — is an example of steps being taken across southwest Ohio to curb the use of e-cigarettes.

RELATED: Lebanon schools get tougher on student vaping

A letter by Springboro principals last month went to all parents, except those with children in kindergarten and first grade.

“I am writing to let you know that the district, and other schools in the county, are seeing an increase in a dangerous new trend among students, e-cigarette use, also known as vaping,” it said. “Here at Springboro Schools, we are taking additional steps to ensure the safety and well-being of all our students. Our administrators and counselors are available for anyone seeking assistance in discussing this matter.”

On Tuesday in Lebanon, the school board approved a new set of disciplinary measures calling for out-of-school suspensions on the first two offenses and recommending expulsion on the third.

MORE: Parents weigh pros, cons of vaping

Lebanon’s new policy also progressively restricts students’ ability to attend dances. In addition, it offers free smoking awareness classes to the student and parents on the first two strikes and makes tobacco cessation at the family’s expense mandatory for three-time violators.

“The liquid solutions that are used in these devices often contain various amounts of nicotine and other harmful chemicals. Vaping devices are also being used to dispense crystallized marijuana (THC). These devices may resemble a pen or a USB drive,” according to a press release issued Thursday by the Lebanon district.

“While the law requires students to be at least 18 years of age to purchase or use vaping devices, many students are in possession of one. These devices are also being used to dispense THC in an odorless method,” the Lebanon release - practically verbatim with the Feb. 14 Springboro letter - said.

Buildings administrators reported the problem to the district office.

“Principals have documented a significant increase in students vaping in the schools, including in the classroom when teachers are not looking,” Lebanon Superintendent Todd Yohey said in his recommendation to the board.

MORE: Growing concern about vaping by teens

Echoing the language of policies in other Dayton-area districts, the Springboro school board's current current policy on the use of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products is less specific in terms of discipline than the one passed last week in Lebanon.

“In order to protect students and staff who choose not to use tobacco from an environment noxious to them, the Board prohibits the possession, consumption, purchase or attempt to purchase and/or use of tobacco or tobacco substitute products by students on Board premises, in Board-owned vehicles, within any indoor facility owned or leased or contracted for by the Board, and/or used to provide education or library services to children, and at all Board-sponsored events,” according to the Springboro policy.

MORE: Cedarville researchers studying vaping liquids

“Students who violate this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct/Student Discipline Code and in accordance with policies of the Board.”

In an email response on the Lebanon policy, Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said:

“While the purported threat posed by vaping among teens and young adults should not be overhyped, it is perfectly legitimate for schools to take action to dissuade their students from engaging in adult activities. Vapor products are an age-restricted product and any retail outlets that sell to youth are violating both Ohio state law and federal law.”

Violations are cumulative over a student’s career in each building.

MORE: Disguised vaping device popular with youths

Elsewhere in the area, school-district policies provided to this newspaper, including in Hamilton, Franklin, Kings, Little Miami and Mad River, were much like the one currently in place in Springboro.

But there were variations.

South of Lebanon in the Kings Local Schools, student get two strikes. The first offense comes with one to five days’ suspension, the second up to 10 days suspension, with a recommendation for expulsion.

MORE: Parents weigh pros, cons of vaping

In the Lakota Local Schools in Butler County, Betsy Fuller, director of school/community relations said disciplinary options or responses in vaping cases can include 17 different actions.

“Lakota Local Schools is committed to maintaining an indoor tobacco and smoke-free environment. This includes the use of “vapor” products,” Fuller said in an email.

Staff writers Ed Richter and Michael D. Clark contributed to this report.

About the Author