Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,
As Clarkston's Administrator for Student Growth and Well-Being, I provide oversight at the district level on the programs and issues that impact our students' ability to thrive both at school, and in life. It's my goal to strengthen our communication with you about the things I'm working on in collaboration with students, teachers, building administrators, and community partners (like Easterseals Michigan, Clarkston Medical Group, Clarkston for Life, Clarkston Youth Coalition, CAYA and others).
I am writing to you today to make you aware of the troubling vaping trend we're seeing increasingly more and more in our schools, particularly the Middle School and Junior High. (We're not alone - please read this New York Times article about the nationwide vaping problem facing schools.) Students as young as sixth grade have been found in possession of vape pens or e-cigarettes at school. These items are considered tobacco products which are not allowed on our school campuses. In instances where students are vaping at school or are found to possess vaping paraphernalia, the materials are confiscated, parents are notified, and students receive disciplinary consequences.
The Dangers of Vape Pens and E-Cigarettes
While marketed as alternatives to traditional cigarettes, vapes and e-cigarettes contain various chemicals and many contain nicotine making them addictive. The CDC reports nicotine exposure can do significant harm to the developing adolescent brain, and the Surgeon General reports some studies show that youths who use e-cigarettes are more likely to move into smoking traditional cigarettes and marijuana in the future.
Though vape pens/e-cigarettes contain addictive nicotine and are as dangerous for kids as traditional cigarettes, these products do not look or smell like cigarettes, and can therefore be difficult to identify as something that should not be in the hands of children. They are easily mistaken for writing utensils or computer accessories, and because many of these items are marketed to teens through their colorful packaging and fruity flavors, they're not immediately recognizable by parents as harmful nicotine products.
One popular brand of e-cigarette is JUUL. You may also hear kids referring to "juuling" in conversation or on their social media accounts. Please take a moment to review these photos of common vaping products and accessories (some are even built into hoodie drawstrings or made to look like asthma inhalers):
To learn more about vaping and how we can partner to keep our kids safe, please join us on Tuesday, June 5 from 7pm-8pm at the CCS Board Office for Vaping 101: What's Important to Know. Saint Joseph Mercy Oakland will be presenting an informative and educational program on vaping (sponsored by The Clarkston Youth Coalition and Clarkston Area Youth Assistance). The seminar is designed for both adults and adolescents, so please bring your child to help deepen the conversations you may be having about this at home.
Student health and safety is our main priority, and we appreciate your vigilance in making sure that vaping materials do not get into the hands of our students in or out of school.
If you have questions or would like to talk with me about vaping or other issues that affect our student well-being, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Administrator of Student Growth and Well-Being