E-Cig problem spurs policy change

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E-Cig problem spurs policy change

Sorayah Zahie

Sorayah Zahie

Sorayah Zahie

Students gather outside

By Sorayah Zahir, Rowlett HS, Rowlett, Texas

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After a long string of electronic cigarette-related issues on campus this year, the administration has enacted its first e-cig policy.

“Administration was fed up with the fire alarms and the city said it’s too much crying wolf,” Assistant Principal Shae Creel said.

Last month, the fire alarm went off twice due to students using e-cigs. “What if we were to have an actual fire, or worse what if there’s a fire at somebody’s house and they’re here on a false alarm and somebody is seriously injured or killed,” Creel said. “They can’t be there because they’re here dealing with e-cig vapor.”

The minimum consequences for being in possession of an e-cig is three days of RAC under the new policy. If a student is caught smoking it, they will receive three days of off-campus suspension.

“We felt there wasn’t an awareness of the problem with our fire alarms,” Assistant Principal Lisa Olsen said. “People thought because it was vapor they didn’t realize that it would actually make [the alarms] go off as well. We realized that students weren’t aware of the dangers involved with e-cigs.”

Before now, the administration lacked a defined enforcement policy regarding e-cigs. If an AP saw a student with it out, they would be told to put it away. E-cigs are treated under the Code of Conduct as a electronic device across the district.

The biggest problem is one: they set off smoke alarms. Two: several students have complained about not being able to breathe in the restrooms because the vapor is so thick.”

— Assistant Principal Shae Creel

“An e-cig is viewed as an electronic device and that electronic device is prohibited on Rowlett’s campus,” Creel said. “The biggest problem is one: they set off smoke alarms. Two: several students have complained about not being able to breathe in the restrooms because the vapor is so thick.”

Administrators believe there has been a positive response to the change. The fire alarm has not gone off since the policy was enacted.

“We felt like we hadn’t [conveyed the policies] like we should have,” Olsen said. “That’s when Mr. Creel said we should make a clear announcement regarding the e-cig policy.”

Creel serves on the district’s Code of Conduct review committee and plans to clarify the district-wide policy.

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