Combating vaping among students in the Pleasanton Unified School District is the focal point of a presentation that district officials will give at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
PUSD staff will present the latest updates on efforts to address a trend that statistics indicate is growing.
E-cigarettes -- also called vape pens or mods -- produce aerosol by heating a liquid, usually nicotine, which users inhale into their lungs. They can also be used to deliver marijuana hash oil. Some vape pens look like regular cigarettes while some modern styles resemble USB sticks, pens or other everyday items.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarette use among high school students increased 78% between 2017 and 2018. More than 3.6 million youths in middle and high school have reported using e-cigarettes in the past month, and approximately 20% of high school students are now using vape pens, the CDC reports.
PUSD staff are recommending changes to the district’s process for disciplining students found vaping on campus.
Currently, a first offense triggers a one-day suspension and the option to attend a family workshop, followed by a three-day suspension for a second offense with the chance to reduce the suspension by participating in several intervention sessions. A third strike is met with a five-day suspension and optional drug treatment or family therapy to reduce suspension time.
Under the proposal, suspensions would be reduced with the longest lasting no more than three days and include the option to minimize suspension by attending a workshop, intervention session or other after-school program.
The school board and staff are set to discuss the possible discipline changes during their regular meeting, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the PUSD boardroom at 4665 Bernal Ave.
In other news
* Trustees will also hear about adding an access period to the school day twice a week for the 2019-20 academic year at Harvest Park and Hart middle schools.
Last month, staff at both campuses voted for the time period that would let them “reteach essential standards, provide additional supports, and extend the learning for students who have mastered the standards.”
Hart administration decided based on staff feedback in the fall of 2017 to not change the bell schedules for the current school year, as they had requested more professional development for other programs. But last month a survey reported that 90% of Hart staff support a bell schedule change for the 2019-20 school year.
Harvest Park decided to add the extra period during the 2018-19 year and a staff voting survey sent last month determined that 75% of respondents agreed with continuing the flex period next year. The board will hear the report and is expected to vote on the bell schedules at their May 7 meeting.
* The board will also vote that evening on whether to approve two contracts totalling $97,000 with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital for athletic trainer services for sports-related injuries to student-athletes at Amador Valley and Foothill high schools. The contracts would be paid for using school site funds, if finalized.
* A purchase for new in-wall cafeteria tables at Vintage Hills Elementary School that the district says “have exceeded their expected lifetime and are in poor condition” will be considered.
Repairs have been made to the tables over the past few years but staff note that “their condition is such that replacement is warranted.” The district would contract with Sierra School Equipment Company, using the Arvin Union School District bid, which is “piggybackable”, for the new furniture.
The total project cost is $121,206 and would be funded by deferred maintenance funds. Work is scheduled for this summer.