BURNET, Texas (KXAN) — Summer break may have already begun for students in the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District, but they can expect some policy changes regarding vaping when they return to school in a few months.
Superintendent Keith McBurnett posted on the district’s Facebook page that the district will adopt stricter consequences next school year for possession or usage of a vaping device at school.
A first offense involving a vaping device will result in the device being taken and the student serving five days of in-school suspension. For a second offense, the vaping device will be taken, and the student will serve 10 days of in-school suspension. The superintendent also said the student will be referred to the city prosecutor for a Class C misdemeanor, which can carry up to a $500 fine.
Rachel Anderson, whose daughter will be in the sixth grade this fall, agrees with what the district’s going to do, but she’s unsure how successful it will be.
“I don’t know if they’ll ever get in under control, honestly,” Anderson said. “It’s becoming more of an epidemic.”
The school resource officer or the administration can also recommend testing for illegal substances, which could result in additional legal action, according to the district’s Facebook post.
These tougher stances come after McBurnett said the district had “unprecedented use” of vaping devices at both Burnet Middle School and Burnet High School.
Dominique Wallace, who runs the Burnet Teen Center for the Boys & Girls Club of the Highland Lakes, said she supports the district’s plan based on her own experience of hearing about the widespread vaping usage from the young people themselves.
“I think it’s great not only because [the students] need to stop doing it, but also they can know the consequences of it,” Wallace said. “A lot of them just smoke it to be cool or to fit in with new friends.
They don’t know what they’re smoking. They don’t know how much nicotine is in it. They literally know nothing about it. They’re just doing it to fit in, so with these new consequences, maybe they won’t do it as much.”
She said the Teen Center has even changed when it will offer its own preventative course called Smart Moves.
“We learn about nicotine, tobacco, drugs, drinking, all of that,” Wallace said. “We typically only do it once a week on Tuesdays. Now, with all this vaping coming in, next year we’re doing it double.”
During the most recent school year, the district hosted two forums for families in the community focused on vaping. The district also offered an e-cigarette prevention program to secondary students and discussed deterrence with its health advisory committee.