Goddard Public Schools’ Chief of Police, Ronny Leiurance says schools battled cigarettes for decades. He says recently, the use of traditional cigarettes by teens decreased. Now he feels like he’s fighting a new battle with e-cigarettes.
“We’re seeing a whole new dynamic and a whole new trend, and really an epidemic at this point with underage use of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices,” Chief Leiurance says.
An epidemic, he says, because once kids start, it’s hard to stop. “We have had some students tell us once they’ve been caught with these products that they just can’t seem to function without it,” Leiurance says, “so I think addiction is probably a real issue that is a piece of it.
Chief Leiurance plans to show parents vaping and e-cigarette products at the symposium, since so many products can be easily hidden among other electronics.
“You have things that are similar to iPhone looking devices or MP3 players looking devices or USB storage looking devices that are really electronic cigarettes in disguise,” Chief Leiurance says.
The district says no matter what research says about the health effects of vaping, it’s still illegal for minors.
“Our job as police officers is to enforce the law, and we do just that. But working in the school, a big part of our job is education, and that’s what we hope to do is teach our kids that this is not right, this is not safe, and we want you to make healthy choices and better decisions,” says Chief Leiurance.
The symposium is from 6-7 p.m. at Explorer Elementary in Goddard. The assistant superintendent for student services will have a presentation, then the principals from the two high schools will talk about what vaping trends they’re seeing in their schools specifically. Parents will also have an opportunity to ask questions.
Last month, Goddard Public Schools announced plans to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers, distributor and sellers of electronic cigarettes and vaping products.