December 18, 2014

USD 230 to consider smoking policy changes

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com

Smoking may be banned from Spring Hill School District grounds in the near future. The school board will consider changes to its smoking policy due to the statewide smoking ban which went into effect on July 1.

Under the existing school policy, students are never allowed to smoke on district policy, however parents and staff could use tobacco products outside on school grounds more than 30 minutes before a school-sponsored activity and the school day and more than 30 minutes following an activity or the school day.

School superintendent Bart Goering said with the new law, board members have two options – they can create smoking areas throughout the district or prohibit it all together on any school property.

Board member Max Strausbaugh worried that an outright ban might cause problems at athletic events.

“We really don’t allow smoking in the bleachers,” Goering explained. “I’ve seen some basketball games where people are slipping outside. That wouldn’t be allowed.”

Goering said if a complete ban was instituted district staff wouldn’t go so far as to knock on car windows to ask if people are smoking.

“I’m not going to do that,” he said.

Board member Scott Oberkrom said whatever policy the board selects, school officials must be willing to enforce.

“You just have to ask them kindly to put it out,” Strausbaugh said. “You can’t totally enforce this. Put up some signs and go from there.”
Goering said from a policy standpoint, an outright ban would be easiest.

Nels Anderson, board member, said he typically isn’t in favor of outright bans, however board member Eric Boyle had a different take.

“I don’t see any need for any tobacco products to be on our properties,” Boyle said. “I’m not sure why we’re even trying to accommodate this.”
Oberkrom said the board doesn’t want to penalize staff that may smoke.

Goering will present a few different policy change options to the board at a future meeting including potentially creating designated smoking areas in parking lots or banning the use of tobacco products on school property at all times.

More information about the school board and meetings is available online at www.usd230.com

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