Archive for Thursday, January 14, 2010

School Board discusses possible smoke-free policy

January 14, 2010

The Basehor-Linwood School Board has started talking about the possibility of establishing a policy that would make USD 458 a smoke-free district.

At the December school board meeting, three Basehor-Linwood High School students, who were members of the group Bobcats Against Destructive Decisions (BADD), gave a presentation to the board members in favor of creating such a policy that would ban smoking on all of the district’s campuses, as well as during athletic events and other school-related activities.

The students gave board members a list of more than 60 school districts in the state that had adopted similar policies and talked about the benefits a smoking ban could have on students in Basehor-Linwood schools.

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 on 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.”

On Monday night, the board talked about and chose to move forward with further research on the subject.

Sandy Guidry, director of curriculum and instruction, said many other districts in the state were having the same discussions. If Basehor-Linwood established a smoke-free policy, Guidry said, it would have the opportunity to receive some health and wellness grants from the state.

Should USD 458 adopt a smoking ban, Superintendent David Howard said the process would be time consuming and difficult in the beginning because of the need for sign posting and education about the policy, as well as enforcement of the new code at schools and athletic events.

“I’m not a smoker, so as far as my comfort level, I enjoy a football game much more when smoke’s not coming in my face,” board member Jeane Redmond said. “I think it would be a great step in the direction of becoming a healthier environment.”

The board will address the issue further at future meetings.

Also on Monday night, the board:

• Discussed different options for renovating the high school track and football field. Howard said the track badly needed to be replaced, and putting field turf on the football field could save the district a lot of money each year in maintenance fees.

• Heard an updated Standards of Excellence presentation from Guidry. The district received 26 grade-level Standards of Excellence, as well as 18 building Standards of Excellence.

• Set a date for an official Basehor Elementary School 3-5 ribbon cutting and grand opening. The event will take place at 2 p.m. Feb. 21.

• Approved, 6-0 with board member Doug Bittel absent, a bid from DataLinks in the amount of $178,961.05 for local area network at Basehor-Linwood Middle School.

• Approved, 6-0, the 2010-2011 calendar.

• Approved, 6-0, to renew Howard’s contract from July 1 to June 30, 2012, for an amount to be determined later.

• Approved, 6-0, the appointment of Betty Williams to the district’s food service staff.


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