Falmouth schools adding e-cigs to banned products

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FALMOUTH — The School Board is revising several policies, including a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes on school grounds.

On Monday night, the board held first readings of changes in the language pertaining to electronic cigarettes and updates to more than half a dozen policies related to tobacco use.

Superintendent of Schools Geoff Bruno on Tuesday said the revisions are required by the state, but the policies will largely remain unchanged.

“The content of the policies is basically the same,” Bruno said.

Language about nicotine products, including a ban on electronic cigarette use, was added to the system-wide student code of conduct; student substance use and possession policy; student substance use and possession administrative procedures; co-curricular code of conduct administrative procedures; use of Falmouth town and school facilities; drug-free workplace policy, and extra curricular/co-curricular code of conduct contract.

Bruno said the revisions reflect state requirements.

“You’re required by Maine state law to have policies for tobacco use,” Bruno said, and those policies must now include electronic cigarettes.

Tobacco products of any kind are prohibited on school grounds, along with alcohol, scheduled drugs, controlled substances, bath salts; any performance-enhancing substance listed on the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ banned substances list, and any other substance that is illegal in Maine or the use of which is illegal for minors.

Prescription drugs not prescribed for a student and/or not in compliance with the School Board’s policy on administering medications to students are also banned, along with any substance that can affect any student’s mental, physical or behavioral pattern, including but not limited to glue, aerosol, paint or steroids, and drug paraphernalia.

Electronic cigarettes are defined by the National Institute of Drug Abuse as battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine with flavorings and other chemicals to users in the form of vapor instead of smoke. They are also known as e-cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS.

Bruno said there have not been any instances of students using such products on school grounds, and that the revisions are part of a larger effort by the School Board to “go through the policy book” to revise and refine the language.

A second reading and vote on the policy revisions will take place at the board’s Nov. 16 meeting.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.