Horry County Schools toughening punishment for students caught vaping

Updated: Aug. 7, 2019 at 7:50 AM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The rise in vaping among teens is pushing Horry County Schools to toughen its stance. The district has a new policy after school leaders say they’ve caught numerous students vaping in hallways and even classrooms.

Any student caught in possession of a vapes, juuls, or other smoke-related devices will face an automatic two to five days out-of-school suspension. That’s compared to the previous punishment of two days in school suspension.

The school district says the change in policy comes after concerns brought forward by school administrators who say vaping has become an increasing issue among high school students and even middle school students. Schools will determine the length of suspension depending on the severity of the offense.

“Vaping has really become popular within the last few years and it’s become quite an issue and a distraction to our students and to the learning environment. We had some infractions in place for that, but we have received feedback from our school administrators that the blatant use of that needs some stricter infractions," said Lisa Bourcier, spokesperson for Horry County Schools.

According to Shoreline Behavioral Health Services, there is a misconception that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes. Prevention director Jessie Marlowe says on top of cancer-related dangers that come with tobacco use, the long term effects of vaping are unknown.

“We had actually seen a decline for a little while on tobacco use among youth until we started seeing vaping. We’ve seen a huge increase in youth in our county using vaping-style products, whether it’s cigarettes or vape pens," said Marlowe.

The district is asking parents to talk to their children about the dangers of vaping and the new policy consequences before heading back to school.

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