School board discussing district efforts to curb student vaping

Access periods at Harvest Park and Hart, sports injury treatment also on tap

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.

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6 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 16, 2019 at 10:02 am

The changes PUSD staff are proposing for students caught vaping are important improvements. Participation in workshops or an intervention program would definitely increase, and that has to have more impact than just increasing a suspension. I really can’t understand why anyone in education would consider 5 days of suspension helpful in any way to solving this problem. Even three days of missed classes could derail any student who is struggling academically. Suspending them from school sports, or band, or any school club, Ok, but punishing them academically? That’s a misguided idea.

7 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 16, 2019 at 10:15 am

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

I would rather see more manual labor punishment - get caught on campus; you're washing school buses (remember when that was ok, and when we actually had school buses to wash?), picking up trash, painting buildings, weeding the yard, volunteer at a lung cancer ward, etc.

Parents have crippled the school's ability to hand out "meaningful" punishments so they can only do what they can do - suspend. And this is impact as parents have to deal with it. Maybe high school kids can stay home by themselves, so less so, but still ensure's parents find out.

I guess for lack of being able to issue other forms of punishment, I'm ok with suspensions. And perhaps, today, in a hyper competitive academic environment to get into the best schools, that is meaningful as the student has to make up the difference to stay "ahead" in academics without the benefit of the teacher's lesson experience?

8 people like this
Posted by Disagree
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 16, 2019 at 9:23 pm

Suspensions are a TERRIBLE approach to this issue. A five-day suspension could completely derail any student's academic success, and thus, may lead to more issues. This district has no common sense when it comes to dealing with our children. Attending a class on the weekend would make more sense, but helping any child "self-medicating" is the best route.

Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 16, 2019 at 10:17 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

self medicating? Give me a break.

2 people like this
Posted by Rich
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Apr 17, 2019 at 2:14 pm

I agree with 5 days of suspension. Otherwise this problem won't go away.

9 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2019 at 4:33 pm

BobB is a registered user.

5 days suspension is not an effective punishment for this.

2 people like this
Posted by Fed Up
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2019 at 7:33 pm

So a trip home for the day and an “optional” class is the answer? The problem is so out of control that the District needs to start making the consequences tougher, not lighter. The problem is only going to get worse if the students consequences are even less than they are now. What a joke! So what if there are academic consequences. Maybe the student will think before bringing this crap to school again and again and again. Wake up PUSD!

2 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 17, 2019 at 8:03 pm

Maybe having to work along side the Alameda County medical Examiner during autopsy, the entire routine in the morgue.

2 people like this
Posted by Idea
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2019 at 9:45 pm

Maybe an in school suspension could work? Still go to school, still doing the work. Maybe pick up trash at lunch?

3 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 18, 2019 at 7:46 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Wanna know how many kids vape at Foothill? Just go to the In & Out parking lot on Friday night after a football game.

Eye opening.

2 people like this
Posted by PLM
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 18, 2019 at 2:21 pm

Suspensions don't work. The parents don't care. These kids are a direct reflection of their parents. Better parenting = kids who don't smoke.

3 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 18, 2019 at 3:59 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Suspensions for kids that have parents that don't care don't work, and if I'm following your logic; then these kids are likely just disruptive in general as they don't care. So while they may not help the individual, I'm happy to have them out of the school as a disruption to others.

As a parent who cares, I would absolutely care if my son or daughter was suspended for any activity.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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