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Palestine schools to tackle vaping problem

EAST PALESTINE– In response to the escalating number of students vaping, the East Palestine high school and middle school are implementing a program to combat the expanding epidemic.

Superintendent Chris Neifer announced at Monday’s school board meeting that they will institute the INDEPTH program, which stands for Intervention for Nicotine Dependence: Education, Prevention, Tobacco and Health.

Typically, students found to be vaping or with any nicotine products on campus have been suspended from school for one day for the first offense and multiple school days for each additional offense. In the 2018-19 school year, there were 36 instances in which a student violated the policy.

“We feel like suspension is a reactivate approach to things,” Neifer said. “I don’t know if that is necessarily helpful to the kids. There are consequences to their actions, but that’s about it.”

The new program will seek to educate, support, address and establish healthy alternatives to vaping for students. The program will be adopted within both schools at the start of the second semester.

Students who violate the policy in the second semester will be assigned to in school restriction (ISR) and must complete an educational course packet, which includes four modules on nicotine and tobacco addiction. The student will not be released back to class until all of the requirements of the INDEPTH program are satisfied.

Neifer said that the program has been productive for many schools around Ohio, and it will give the students great background into what is known about vaping and how to produce a more healthy lifestyle.

“We want to create some education around the topic,” Neifer said. “We hope to take a more proactive approach to that problem in East Palestine schools.”

slendak@mojonews.com

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