UP school districts look for ways to battle student vaping

One out of five Michigan students say they currently vape.
One out of five Michigan students say they currently vape.
Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 4:47 PM EDT
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UPPER MICHIGAN, Mich. (WLUC) - One out of five Michigan students say they currently vape. School districts in the U.P. are trying to lower this rate.

At NICE Community Schools, its policy is suspension-based. The length of the suspension depends on what type of vape a student has.

“If we catch a student with a vape that is nicotine-based, they get suspended for three days. If a student gets caught with a vape device that has marijuana or a THC concentrate, that is a much longer-term suspension,” said Bryan DeAugustine, NICE Community Schools superintendent.

DeAugustine said last year, there were about 10 long-term suspensions. He hopes the current district policy is a deterrent for vaping.

“The idea is to get the kids that are thinking of about should they or shouldn’t they do this to hammer home that it is not worth doing it,” DeAugustine said. “If we can’t convince them on the health side that it is not worth it to their physical well-being, then we need to make it clear that it is not worth getting in trouble.”

In Kingsford, Breitung Township Schools has added a second School Resource Officer to its high school-middle school building. The two officers can assist the administration with vaping discipline.

“We may use him to write citations. Essentially, if a student is doing it on school grounds, it is illegal,” said David Lindbeck, Kingsford High School principal.

Lindbeck said the punishment for having a vape can range from a one to three-day suspension. The principal adds this year, the district is bolstering its social programs to better connect students with each other.

“If they are involved in something, they are less likely to go down that path of vaping,” Lindbeck said. “We want them to be a part of something positive with all the different types of organizations we have.”

DeAugustine and Lindbeck said they need to remain proactive when handling student vaping going forward.