HSD Goes Smoke and Tobacco Free
The Hazelwood School District has adopted a new policy in which all schools, campuses and district vehicles will now be smoke and tobacco free.
The Hazelwood School District (HSD) officially no longer accepts any form of smoking or tobacco on its premises from adults or students.
The district adopted a tobacco-free policy earlier in the year, which now prohibits staff and faculty from smoking in district vehicles, outside of school buildings, away from students in outside areas, and on anything deemed Hazelwood School District property. This includes when school is not in session.
The same rules apply to students and HSD visitors.
During a February board of education meeting the issue was discussed deeply and at that time, Diane Livingston, president of the Hazelwood National Education Association, requested the board of education pull the matter from voting so staff and faculty could submit input.
"We want it to be proactive on health and a little less threatening," she said.
The policy states the use of any tobacco products by any school employee is also prohibited at school-sponsored functions on district property, and off district property if the employee is acting in his or her official capacity as an employee of the district.
Dolores Gun, director of the St. Louis County Department of Health was also present at that meeting in support of the measure passing.
"We are asking you to adopt the tobacco free policy," she said. "What people do in their private homes or outside is their thing, but we're talking about public places and our children."
"I'm very proud that Hazelwood is considering this."
Some stipulations of the new tobacco free policy include:
- Employee Discipline: Employees violating the tobacco-free policy may be subject to the following procedures: First Offense – A verbal warning by the appropriate supervisor, referral to cessation resources. Second Offense – A written warning by the appropriate administrator; recorded in the personnel file and referral to cessation resources. Third Offense – A second written warning and/or suspension without pay up to and including termination; referral to cessation resources.
- Students: Students violating the tobacco-free policy will be subject to the consequences outlined in the Behavior Guide and Board policy. Possession, use, sale or transfer of any tobacco products by students on district property, in district vehicles or at school-sponsored functions both on and off district property is prohibited. Violations will be defined as any of the following, but not limited to: possession of any type of tobacco products; chewing tobacco; smoke coming out of mouth or nose; and smoke coming from an area occupied by students.
- Student Discipline: First Occurrence and Repeated Offenses will result in confiscation of tobacco products, notification of parents/guardians, notification of police in accordance with St. Louis County Ordinance and delivery of consequences as outlined in the grade-level Student Behavior Guides. Students will be offered resources for available cessation programs.
- Visitors: Visitors found smoking or using tobacco products will be informed of the school district policy and asked by the appropriate school official to refrain from smoking or tobacco use while on district property. If the visitor does not comply, he or she will be asked to leave. If the visitor refuses to leave, school security will be notified. Police notification will be determined by the appropriate staff and security officer.
Board member Desiree Whitlock, who also works for the county health department asked people to remember the #1 reason for the new policy: the students.
"I know there are some concerns about the tobacco free policy," she said. "But this is about our kids.
"My biggest concern is our kids."
The board decided to do a role call vote on the matter in which only two board members voted against passing a tobacco free policy: Mark Behlmann and Charles Woods. Carlton Thornton and Brenda Youngblood were absent and did not vote on the matter.
"I just want ot make sure were aren't infringing on people's rights," Behlmann said. "We all get to a point when we are 21 years of age and we all get to do what we want to do because this is a free country.
"I do support a campus free of smoking but I also support enforcement."
Board member Ann Gibbons said it was time the district made a move this drastic, adding that the matter is about keeping kids healthy.
"I smoked for 50 years," she said. "That's enough."
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