Marshall County students could end up in court if caught vaping in school

School resources confiscates over 160 e-cigarettes in just 180 days.
WAFF 48's Savannah Sapp reporting
Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 9:29 PM CDT
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ASBURY, Ala. (WAFF) - In just 180 days, Sgt. Hester Hollis and other school resource officers confiscated 160 e-cigarettes from students attending Asbury High School and it doesn’t stop there.

Deputy Tamangi Lewis says vapes are being found even at the elementary level.

“I have a few in my office now that we’ve gotten from elementary children anywhere from first grade up to third grade. Not even grades are separated from what we collect,” says Lewis

The epidemic is so severe, Juvenile Court Judge Jay Mastin stepped in to form a new policy for schools in Marshall County.

Formerly, students caught in possession of a vape would receive a verbal warning or a few days of in school suspension.

Now, even on the first offense, students will be issued a citation to appear in court with a parent, on top of 10 days of in school suspension.

“They will come to court on that first docket. They’ll have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty, or to do a deferral program and that program essentially gives them the opportunity to do some community service and an online vape education course. If they do that, their case will be dismissed,” says Mastin.

Mastin says the increase in vaping has created discourse between resource officers and students.

”Now, with the vape behavior and what’s going on, the SRO’s are having to do police work in the schools and that’s not the relationship that we want. We don’t want the students, as soon as they see an SRO thinking ‘Oh I’ve got to hide what I’m doing wrong.’ We want them to have that good interaction with our SRO’s and being able to trust them,” Mastin says.

The new policy will be enacted in hopes of deterring students from turning to nicotine. Deputy Lewis says parents should be extra careful as their child could easily find themselves in court.

“I’m a father as well. I believe the first step is in the home. Some of it is peer pressure and a lot of it is... some of these I’m pretty sure came out of the home from brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles somewhat like that, but parents need to be very aware of their children’s activities,” Lewis Says.

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