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Vermilion Parish increases penalties on vaping

Posted: 6:19 PM, Apr 29, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-30 11:36:46-04

Students caught vaping or carrying vape products will face harsher penalties in Vermilion Parish.

The school district’s new policy went into effect today.

On the first offense, students will face two days in school suspension and two days out of school suspension. On the second offense, the student will be suspended indefinitely and recommended for expulsion. On either offense, the vape products will be confiscated and turned over to the police.

Superintendent Jerome Puyau said the district reviewed other vaping policies across the nation before implementing its new policy. Educators say vapes are becoming sleeker and harder to detect.

“Someone could have it, put it out on the desk and we think it’s a little recorder or a pen or pencil. They just make it in every shape or size right now,” said Puyau.

The Superintendent believes vapes are not only a health concern, but a safety issue. He said the nicotine in the vape could be replaced with THC.

“Someone could be taking a hit off of one of these vaping devices with these hallucinogens and we’re not even aware of it,” said Puyau.

“Unfortunately, we had to put some real meat into that policy because it was becoming such an epidemic among teenagers and in high schools,” said North Vermilion High Principal Tommy Byler.

Puyau said students are becoming brazen.

“They will smoke in class, the hallways, in bathrooms. It doesn’t smell, especially if a teacher has an air scent vaporizer. You can’t tell.”

Byler said it’s a challenge to keep up with the changing vape technology.

“You just don’t know what’s out there,” Byler said. “Your kid might be told they’re smoking a vape pen that has nicotine, but next thing you know, they just smoked something with THC.”

Vape Policies Parish by Parish

St. Landry: One to nine day in school suspension or long term suspension ( 10 to 30 days)
Student might be recommended for expulsion. Decided on a case by case basis.

St. Martin: First offense, in school suspension. Second offense could lead to out of school suspension or expulsion

St. Mary: Violations shall subject the student to appropriate disciplinary action as well as the student’s and his/her parents’ participation in cessation counseling services. We’re waiting on a call back on the specific disciplinary actions students could face.

Lafayette: First offense, in school suspension. A LPSS spokesperson told KATC in a recent interview, “If a student was caught selling vaping materials, that could result in a suspension or recommended expulsion depending on the details, and what was being sold.”

Acadia: We’re waiting on a call back on the specific disciplinary actions students could face.

Evangeline: Violations are handled the same as tobacco violations; the parish handbook states that discipline is up to each principal.