Tyler ISD Implements New Policy to Tackle Vaping in Texas Schools

Tyler Independent School District (ISD) implemented a new policy nearly a year ago to tackle the issue of vaping among students. The policy includes installing vape detectors and sending students to their Discipline Alternative Education Program (DAEP) if they sell, give, have, or use a vape within 300 feet of any school property on or off. The policy was implemented in response to the growing number of students using vapes and e-cigarettes, which pose serious health risks.

Stricter Consequences for Vaping in Texas Schools

The Texas regular session passed House Bill 114, which requires schools to put students in DAEP if they are caught vaping on school property or within 300 feet of any school property on or off. DAEP is described as a step above detention and a step below suspension. Under the law, school discretion will soon be no more. The director of constituent services at Tyler ISD, John D Johnson III, says this law can impact students in the long run. “It’s just not about having a rule and having somebody follow it, following this rule could be the difference between being on life support or being on the transplant list,” said Johnson.

Impact of the New Law

Not everyone agrees with the decision to send students to DAEP for vaping. Ashlei Lloyd, with Next Step Community Solutions, a non-profit in East Texas that provides substance abuse prevention, says the punishment won’t always fit the infraction. “A lot of times for students that have been violent repeatedly got in trouble and so for a student, one time being caught with a vape and being thrown with those kids can really have some harmful impacts on that child,” said Lloyd. The non-profit has a prevention program called “REACH” in DAEP to help students that are there.

Prevention Starts at Home

Lloyd also says reducing teen vaping starts at home. “The number one thing that stops a child from using a substance is parent disapproval,” said Lloyd. One thing Johnson recommends to other schools preparing right now for this law is that they need to be transparent with parents and students. “Communicating with parents, you are just not hearing it because your child was caught with a vape or because their child was caught vaping,” said Johnson. That’s what many East Texas schools are doing by posting this information on Facebook.

Matthew Ma