Kansas state board asks districts to pass strict vaping bans

Many school districts in Kansas already have bans
Kansas state board asks districts to pass strict vaping bans

The Kansas State Board of Education has voted to encourage school districts to pass strict vaping bans.

The policy approved unanimously Tuesday calls for prohibiting students and staff from using, possessing or promoting any tobacco products, including vape pens, while they’re on school property, in school vehicles or at activities, The Kansas City Star reported.

The board also wants districts to bar parents, volunteers, contractors and vendors from using any tobacco products and e-cigarettes “in any district facility, in school vehicles, at school-sponsored activities, programs or events, and on school owned property at all times.”

Kathy Busch, the board’s chairwoman, called the policy recommendation “quite inclusive and definitive.”

“Hopefully we’ll begin to stem the tide, but obviously we haven’t reached that yet, still much work to do as our young people are unfortunately still getting into this and we wish they wouldn’t,” said Busch.

Many school districts in Kansas and Missouri already prohibit the use of e-cigarettes on school property. Several districts also have sued leading e-cigarette maker Juul, including those in Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley and Olathe.

But, “I would be surprised if there are really more than a handful of districts that have this comprehensive of a policy,” Mark Thompson, a program consultant for the Kansas Department of Education, told the board.

He said the Kansas vaping task force that wrote the recommendation will turn its attention next to the issues of discipline and helping students quit the habit. “We know that schools are struggling with how to handle situations where students are caught vaping or with vaping devices,” he said.

The task force hopes to have those recommendations ready for districts to use next school year, Thompson said.

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