Texas School Law Requires Schools Send Students Caught Vaping to Alternative School

We all know how prevalent vaping has become at schools, and we are constantly looking for new tools to combat the problem and protect our kids. Texas legislature has taken a different approach; sending kids to alternative schooling.

According to KVUE, Austin, “Last summer, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 114, which sets a mandatory punishment for students caught with vaping products. The law requires schools to place those students in alternative schooling or a disciplinary program if they are caught with vape products.”

It’s something we have seen such a rise of in the last decade. It started with just a few people hearing about these products, and has exploded to an infestation at nearly every school. When we would do our presentations about 6-8 years ago, we would ask the students “how many of you guys have heard of vapes or e-cigarettes” and it would be a scattered few in the high schools, and nearly none in he middle schools. Now when we walk onto a campus it’s not even a question of whether they know about them, they see them every day, and we have talked to schools who have found them as young as 3rd grade. Schools are doing a fantastic job by trying different measures to educate students, but schools are still looking for a solution.

One Texas Superintendent, Zac Olden, explained that he had started enforcing a no-vaping policy at school events or around the school in August of 2023, including THC vapes which were already banned.

“So, non-THC vapes on campus, or within 300 feet of a campus, we’re required to place in a DAP,” Oldham said.

DAP stands for Disciplinary Alternative Education Program, an alternative school students are sent to. The Round Rock Opportunity Center is one of two DAPs in the district.

Oldham said discipline is administered on a case-by-case basis.

“Usually, [a] five day placement. That’s a first time offense,” Oldham said. “Obviously, if, you know, if they’re found with several and an intent to distribute or something like that, it could carry a lengthier stay.”

Those caught with THC vaping products get 30 days. According to KVUE.

Olden said they want to educate the students, but it can be difficult for them to know what is really inside the students’ vapes.

While the students are suspended at the alternative school, they will have an opportunity to undergo counseling, and complete research projects on vaping and its dangers.

Olden said that since they have started sending students to alternative schools, they have rarely seen students that reoffend.

“I think they’re just trying to do the right thing to make sure our students are educated, to be held accountable with that. Accountability also comes with educating our students on those dangers as well, and that’s what we’re trying to work hard on,” Oldham said. 

Other schools interviewed by KVUE are designated as Districts of Innovation, a status granted to districts meeting specific performance criteria, enabling schools to seek exemptions from Texas Education Agency regulations to better address their unique needs. Their strategies for addressing vaping incidents on school premises may fall within this designation.

In Austin ISD, students receive campus-based support and education for their first offense, while subsequent offenses may lead to placement in an alternative school. Meanwhile, Lake Travis ISD adopts a stricter approach, with immediate placement in an alternative school for 15 days on the first offense, 30 days on the second offense, and 45 days along with potential criminal charges for the third offense.

Vaping is a problem that must be solved with the whole community. From parents all the way up to legislatures, we all have to do our part to help protect and educate our young ones. For information on bringing us to your school or town to help educate, contact us at the tab on our website. Let’s work together to help our youth live their best and fullest lives possible.

Source: [ https://www.kvue.com/article/news/education/schools/texas-school-vaping-laws-alternative-schools/269-93e8c0ac-44e7-4182-bc85-42570114fea9#:~:text=Last%20summer%2C%20the%20Texas%20Legislature,are%20caught%20with%20vape%20products. ]

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