Nacogdoches ISD prepares for increase in discipline issues over vapes, e-cigarettes

Nacogdoches ISD prepares for increase in discipline issues over vapes, e-cigarettes
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 3:15 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2023 at 6:37 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - With the passage of a new Texas law that mandates students in possession of vaporizers or e-cigarettes be placed in a disciplinary alternative education program, some East Texas schools are thinking ahead of what will happen if they reach capacity.

In the 2022-2023 school year, Nacogdoches I.S.D. had over 3,000 students in grades 6 through 12. School administration reported that 116 students were caught with vapes or e-cigarettes.

Meanwhile, its Margie Chumbley Academy for Success has seven classrooms for high school and middle school students placed in a disciplinary alternative education program, or DAEP. They have a ratio of 15 students per teacher.

Over the last year and a half, communications director Les Linebarger says teens bringing vapes on campus has been on the increase.

“Well, quite frankly, around the country has seen similar increases that this past legislative session it got the attention of lawmakers,” Linebarger said.

House Bill 114 requires all Texas schools to remove students from campus if caught in possession or use of a vape and to be placed in DAEP, described as a step above detention but below suspension. “

“It’s a way, perhaps, a student receives discipline for something, but it also doesn’t keep them out of school,” Linebargr said.

Overcrowding is one concern of the new law. If overcrowding happens, Linebarger said the district is allowed to place students in ‘in-school suspension,’ or I.S.S., until a DAEP placement opens.

A vape offense can also be removed and placed in I.S.S. if a DAEP classroom is at a capacity for a violent offender. The days served in I.S.S. count towards a student’s DAEP placement.

“Hopefully, we can make some progress on this, and hopefully not only in Nacogdoches I.S.D. but the state of Texas can make some progress,” said Linebarger.

The district encourages parents to talk to their kids when school starts to help prevent them from being removed from their classroom and to take care of their health.

The law is set to take effect on September 1.