San Antonio’s North East Independent School District announced a zero tolerance policy for cannabis vaping in August, and spent all of the Fall semester following through on that promise.
Administrators at San Antonio, Texas’ North East Independent School District (NEISD) have been busy this past semester, after a new zero tolerance THC vape policy quickly led to the expulsion of 47 students in just three short months.
NEISD officials announced the anti-cannabis rule change in August, before the fall semester started. The vape restrictions dictated that any student found to be carrying a vape pen containing THC oil would be automatically recommended for expulsion. But while the administrative order was put in place to curb vape usage, the first three months of implementation have seen more punishment than prudence.
“It was really important for us to tell our students that we do have that technology, that we can test it right there on the spot within five minutes or so to see if there is THC, and also the serious consequences of having THC on campus,” Kathy Johnson, a counselor at Winston Churchill High School, told KSAT News.
Vaping in middle and high schools has been a hot button topic across the US for the past few years, as nicotine vaporizers like Juul have grown rapidly in popularity and THC cartridges have become increasingly popular in both legal cannabis states and black market regions like Texas. In some school districts, administrators have installed highly sensitive vape detectors in bathrooms and other common areas.
NEISD administrators did not tell KSAT reporters about the fate of the nearly 50 students that had been kicked out of local schools over the past few months and did not say whether or not police were brought in to prosecute any of the school-aged offenders. Despite the dramatic punishments, NEISD officials are confident that the zero tolerance THC vaping policy has stopped some students from experimenting with marijuana.
“I have seen a difference, and I think a lot of it is because of the education part that we’re doing. It’s not where we want it to be,” Johnson said. “I do think students are still probably doing it, but I feel like we might have caught some kids that might be on that edge, or on that bubble, that might want to. They might seriously think about it twice before they take that first vape.”
But with so many students already expelled for what most districts consider a minor infraction, who knows how many NEISD students will be left to heed the warning after next semester.
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