Dr. Patricia Saelens, Superintendent of Caroline County Public Schools (CCPS) recently sent the following letter to CCPS families:
“I am writing to share our concerns regarding the vaping epidemic involving students in our community and across the country. We are committed to prevention and intervention for students as it relates to tobacco and vaping products. We do not want our students to start the habit, and we want to provide support for those who currently use the products and need to quit. The possession and use of tobacco and vaping products is taken seriously as it has negative impacts on the health of all our students.
“Effective October 1, 2019, Maryland law forbids the possession of tobacco and electronic cigarettes (vapes) by anyone under the age of 21 unless the person is on active duty in the military. Caroline County Public Schools will support this law through its Student Code of Conduct. Students in possession of tobacco products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (vape, Juul, e-cigarettes, etc.) will receive an office referral and a consequence consistent with our policy. These products have no place in the school or in the hands of those the law forbids.
“The Caroline County Health Department has partnered with our school system to help students currently using tobacco and vaping products quit their addiction. CCPS and the Health Department have developed an alternative consequence available to all secondary students who have received a disciplinary referral for tobacco and vape possession. Parents or guardians can elect to have their child participate in a tobacco/vaping educational program implemented by the Health Department which will include two afterschool sessions. In the program, students will learn about the harmful effects of tobacco and vaping products and develop strategies to quit use of the products.
“Additionally, Caroline County Health Department is committed to helping anyone interested in quitting their use of tobacco and vaping products. Any student who is currently using the products should see their school counselor or school nurse for resources to quit. Any parent or guardian who is interested in quitting their use of tobacco or vaping products can contact the Caroline County Health Department at 410-479-8080.
“Working in collaboration with our parents or guardians and other community members, we can make a difference. We appreciate your support as we work together to tackle the vaping epidemic that is sweeping this nation.”