Message from the Superintendent: Vaping and Coppell ISD
Dear Coppell ISD Families,
Student safety and well-being is a top priority for our district. Working together, we are committed to informing you and sharing the most current information on important topics and trends, so we can better protect each and every student. As we begin a new school year, we continue to face some ongoing issues we have been struggling with as a school district community. We cannot tackle these issues alone, and we must address these together as one Coppell ISD community. We need the help of our parents and guardians for the safety and well-being of our students to combat two major problems affecting our children: vaping (smoking e-cigarettes) and THC oil (a concentrated form of marijuana/cannabis extracts).
Many school districts, including CISD, are seeing a significant increase in the use of e-cigarettes, otherwise known as vaping. In CISD, we have seen this issue from the elementary level through high school. Use of these vaping or e-cigarette devices poses a significant – and avoidable – health risk to young people in the United States. You may have seen stories recently, such as www.star-telegram.com/news/local/article234184982.html and www.wfaa.com/article/news/local/vaping-caused-north-texas-teens-lungs-to-fail-doctors-say about the harmful effects of vaping on our youth.
These devices are prohibited at all CISD campuses and buildings, including at athletic events and other after school activities, and on our playgrounds and other areas accessible by the public after hours. Possession of a vaping or e-cigarette device by a student triggers automatic discipline action, as outlined in the CISD Student Code of Conduct, which is available at www.coppellisd.com/policies. Also, a new state law goes into effect on September 1, 2019, which raises the legal age for vaping or smoking in Texas to 21, unless you are in the military. This new law means, not only can vaping/smoking incur a discipline action at school, it is now illegal for any student born after August 31, 1998, to purchase or use these products.
In addition, some students are using vaping or e-cigarettes to smoke a form of marijuana called THC oil. Last school year alone, we had more than a dozen students arrested for possession of THC oil, including middle school students. Possession of any amount of THC oil is a felony in Texas, and carries with it a mandatory expulsion from school and an automatic placement in Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP) in Dallas County.
We are asking our parents and guardians to take these specific steps to help protect our children:
Step 1: Educate yourself about the risks of vaping and smoking.
“E-cigarette use poses a significant – and avoidable – health risk to young people in the United States. Besides increasing the possibility of addiction and long-term harm to brain development and respiratory health, e-cigarette use is associated with the use of other tobacco products that can do even more damage to the body. Even breathing e-cigarette aerosol that someone else has exhaled poses potential health risks.” Read more at Know the Risks for E-Cigarettes & Young People.
Step 2: Watch this video of School Resource Officer, Sergeant Albert Moreno, and Safety and Security Coordinator Rachael Freeman, a former Coppell Police Officer and SRO, who both go into detail about vaping and smoking.
Step 3: Start a conversation with your child about the risks of vaping and smoking.
Review the Parent Tip Sheets on the Surgeon General’s Take Action page. Remember, your goal is to have a conversation, not to deliver a lecture. It’s okay for your conversation to take place over time, in bits and pieces. The conversation should be on-going and not just a one-time talk.
Step 4: Prevent student access to vaping and e-cigarette devices and monitor your child for signs of use.
Become familiar with what common vaping devices look like. Watch for an unexplained sweet scent or strange odor (similar to latex), or pens and USB drives that do not look normal. Maintain open communication with your teen about where they spend time, who they are with and what they are doing. Monitor cell phone texts and interactions.
The Surgeon General recommends making your home and vehicles tobacco-free by prohibiting the use of all tobacco products, including vaping and e-cigarettes, by family members, friends and guests.
- Parent Toolkit - Parent Toolkit is a one-stop resource developed with parents in mind. It’s produced by NBC News Learn and supported by Pearson and includes information about almost every aspect of your child’s development, because they're all connected. Healthy, successful children can excel in many areas – in the classroom, on the court, and in their relationships with peers and adults. This Toolkit can help you start those difficult conversations with your students.
- Exploring the Myths of Alcohol, Drugs, + Vaping Presentation - Last school year, CISD’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) welcomeds Dr. Harold C. Urschel, Chief Medical Strategist for Enterhealth, for his presentation "Exploring the Myths of Marijuana & Vaping." Click here to view video.
- CISD Parent University: Emerging Alcohol + Drug Trends- We asked local professionals about emerging alcohol and drug trends in our area, Coppell, TX. This is what they had to say. Click here to view video.
Coppell ISD Student Code of Conduct and Student Handbook– The Student Code of Conduct, Student Handbook other student policies and procedures can be found at www.coppellisd.com/policies.
- U.S. Surgeon General: https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/
- Tarrant County Public Health: http://vapingblows.tarrantcounty.com/
- American Academy of Pediatrics: https://www.aap.org/en-us/Documents/AAP-JUUL-Factsheet.pdf
CISD remains committed to our focus on keeping our students safe. Therefore, we will continue to provide important updates and information to our families in CISD to help keep our students safe and healthy. We are here to help in any way we can. As we continue to look out for each other and keep, “If you see something, say something,” in mind, I want to remind you that CISD has an anonymous tip line available at www.coppellisd.com/tipline or by calling 972-436-TIPS (8477).
If you have any suggestions on other areas of concern, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, thank you for your support of our district.