A new law concerning students vaping went into effect Sept. 1. House Bill 114 calls for students who are caught with vapes at school to be placed into the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program. This does not only include having a vape but distributing it as well. If a vape is used, sold, or in possession within 300 feet of any school property, students will be placed into DAEP.
Last year the school district had a total of 1,299 THC and nicotine cases alone. The House Bill is described as a one-strike policy for students.
Mr. Hernandez has some perspective and warnings for students going forward:
“I think the best way to we can prevent something is to talk about it and get people talking about it. I think if we’re reactionary to it because we didn’t prepare or prepare you guys for it, then we’re gonna get hit with a bunch of cases. I still think people are gonna make mistakes.”
The boys’ restrooms are open, the girls are closed. The restrooms are locked in the morning so students can’t use them before the bell rings. The teachers will open them right when the bell rings.
“I had a conversation with a parent last week who was mad about having the doors open, but last year we had times when there were like 20 boys in there smoking at one time, if I open the door and they’re like, “oh well I’m not gonna do it then,” I think that’s a win. You at least get to use the restroom and again why is a 16-year-old vaping? It’s destroying your lungs, but that’s a whole other conversation.”
There is an AP who has a TV in their office and the cameras are up the entire time. The administration will constantly be communicating.
“I know there are people out there saying ‘Oh this stinks, Mr. Hernandez and all his rules,’ I get it, but my job is to prepare you guys for life. High school is not real life. You can’t get in a fight at work and come back to work the next day. If I’m not getting you ready for that then I’m not doing my job.”
Custodians are also checking and reporting to administration, as well as other students.
“Kids want a safe space, they want it to be comfortable, they want it to be clean, kids don’t want to walk into a restroom and they can’t use it because there are 20 people in there smoking.”
“The older you get the tighter the world gets, the more structure it has, the more rules it has, and the more you have to fit into that, not the other way around. We are trying to help you students figure that out. And you can run, we can chase you, you can hide but at some point, it all comes to fruition, you just have to accept reality at some point. “