Archive for Thursday, December 17, 2009

Students request smoke-free policy

December 17, 2009

Students at Basehor-Linwood High School are advocating a smoke-free district.

At Monday’s Basehor-Linwood School Board meeting, three students from Bobcats Against Destructive Decisions made a case to board members for banning smoking on all of the district’s campuses, as well as during athletic events and other school-related activities.

“We think adults should set a good example not smoking at schools or events because the students wouldn’t be able to,” senior Tara Chumley said.

Chumley also presented the board members with a list of more than 60 school districts in the state that had banned smoking.

“And this isn’t even a comprehensive list,” she said.

Sophomore Ethan Duffey talked to the board about the benefits of making USD 458 smoke free, saying it would have positive effects on the district as a whole, as well as individual students.

“The majority of smokers begin smoking before (high school) graduation,” Duffey said. “Also, many students don’t realize the addictive nature of tobacco. They consider it normal adult behavior.”

Banning tobacco use at all times on all school grounds would significantly change students’ perceptions on smoking as a normal action, Duffey said.

“Changing this perception will allow for a change in behaviors over time, which would result in reduced tobacco use in the future,” he said. “Additionally, students and visitors (would) no longer be exposed to secondhand smoke at outdoor events.”

In a survey the students conducted, 70 percent of their classmates who participated agreed the district should be completely smoke free, Duffey said.

BADD compiled a list of criteria for the policy it recommends the district adopt, which freshman Caylea Siler shared with the board. It included:

• Prohibition of tobacco use on school grounds and school-owned property by any student, staff member or visitor.

• Prohibition of tobacco advertising, marketing and sponsorship on school property, at school functions and in school publications.

• A cessation program for anyone in violation of the policy.

• Prohibition of tobacco-related gear or paraphernalia.

• Prohibition of school acceptance of gifts or funds from the tobacco industry.

Siler also said the district should create a no-smoking plan similar to that of the Fort Scott school district.

“Fort Scott has a strong, comprehensive policy,” she said. “BADD feels that if USD 458 were to model itself after Fort Scott, we would be taking a strong and very important step toward improving the long-term health of our community.”

Also on Monday night, the board:

• Approved, 7-0, the classified handbook for a final reading.

• Approved, 7-0, the Title I policy for a final reading.

• Approved, 7-0, a contract with Straub Construction for the health and wellness center. The final amount of the contract will not be decided until the design is complete.

• Approved, 5-2 with members Richard Zamora and Gary Johnson opposed, a resolution with Schools for Fair Funding that allows Basehor-Linwood to participate in any litigation pursued by the organization.

• Approved, 7-0, a network electronics bid for Basehor Elementary School, Basehor Intermediate School and Basehor-Linwood Middle School in the amount of $72,495.

• Approved, 7-0, a capital outlay resolution.

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