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Hannibal Public Schools implement new policy to crack down on vaping

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:22 PM CST
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HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) - More kids are vaping on the campuses of Hannibal Public Schools, district officials say.

Now administrators are enactingtougher penalties in an effort to crack down on it.

If students are caught vaping on campus, or have a vape on them, they’ll face a 10-day suspension.

High School Principal Ted Sampson said the district enacted this policy change on Dec. 1 as they have seen more students vaping over the past few years.

“We have seen a steady increase in the amount of students found with vapes or using them over the past couple of school years. Obviously that’s been a concern for us with the health risks associated with vaping,” Sampson said.

Before Dec. 1, students caught vaping faced three days of detention.

High School Nurse Claire Bensman said vaping is a serious issue at the school. She said some students don’t even know what’s inside of their vapes.

“I have had a couple of kids that have come because they vaped, they don’t know what was in it, someone had just given it to them,” Bensman said. “They ended up being sick and it was kind of a semi-emergency situation that we had to send them to be evaluated by a doctor.”

Hannibal Regional medical Group Pediatrician Dr. Levi Strube said vaping has detrimental effects, as nicotine is addictive and vape juice can contain harmful chemicals.

“The developing brain of adolescents is prone to addiction, they’re more likely to addicted to activities and nicotine in general and it can lead to more harmful effects down the road including cigarette smoking and other drug use,” Strube said.

High School Principal Ted Sampson said vaping can also be a distraction in the classroom.

“Kids were asking to leave class and they would be found in the bathroom doing that. And this will hopefully help them focus on being in the classroom and having an education versus having a distraction that pulls them out of the classroom,” Sampson said.

Sampson said they have already seen fewer students vaping with the policy in place.

“I do believe we have seen a decrease in the amount of students that we have seen through the office discipline since that policy has been put in place,” Sampson said.

Sampson said students who are suspended for vaping will have access to online learning so they don’t fall behind.

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