by Ben Barrera | staff writer
Students caught possessing THC on campus will now be facing felony charges, which could include immediate expulsion. The policy earlier stated that all confiscated vapes would be sent to Austin but this is no longer the case since the campus will now rely on campus testing for results.
“All devices, oils, and other paraphernalia are explicitly prohibited by the North East ISD Student Code of Conduct for students of all ages. Confiscated devices, cartridges and oils will be subject to immediate on-campus chemical testing. Students who are in possession of any item which tests positive for THC will be recommended for expulsion as such possession is a state jail felony,” Principal Gary Comalander said.
THC, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, is under scrutiny for causing vape related deaths across America.
“The potential health hazards that vaping presents are well documented. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating six deaths and more than 380 reported cases of severe lung illness related to vaping and is encouraging all users of all ages to stop vaping as they do so,” Comalander said.
At press time, deaths related to vaping now stands at 8. Hoping to stop the behavior before it starts, free drug awareness programs are available for students who have a problem with smoking.
“There are definitely drug awareness programs that students and parents can get involved with. When a student goes to alternative for the district, they are offered the opportunity to go to a drug awareness program if it’s their first time and, if they do, then they can be reduced to about 20 days for the alternative replacement. However, if it comes back tested at the higher level then it’s going to be an expulsion anyway,” Comalander said.
The district is taking the campaign against drugs online.
“Definitely getting the word out- sending information to parents by email, social media and the district’s Facebook and Twitter pages to try to make sure everybody understands the dangers of THC. Plus, unfortunately, what the consequences are and how severe the consequences are. You can access EscapeTheVape for additional resources.” Comalander said.
Anyone caught holding or possessing a vape will be subject to immediate testing. According to the district, if you’re in possession, you’re responsible.
“Possession is the main thing so, if your carrying or holding something for someone else that is illegal, then you are going to be the one considered to have the illegal object. So, do not carry, hold, or have something illegal,” Comalander said.