The Floyd County Board of Education approved a request this month to start implementing a plan that would make all properties and vehicles owned by the school district “100 percent tobacco free.”

The effort was forwarded by the Floyd County Tobacco Coalition, a group of local individuals who also helped draft tobacco bans in several local cities. Members of the group talked about the proposal during the board meeting. 

Superintendent Danny Adkins said creating “100 percent tobacco free” properties sets a good example for students. He said this plan “goes back to the expectations we set for our students.”

“If we’re telling them that vaping is bad for you or dipping tobacco is bad for you or chewing tobacco is bad for you, or smoking even, to that level, then we should model that,” Adkins said. “So, again, we’re setting expectations for our students. Not only that, but we’re creating a healthier environment for our students because if they’re walking through smoke through a parking lot to get to their football game that night, you know, that’s second-hand smoke, and we know how that effects people.”

He said this program will also promote a healthier lifestyle for staff as well. It comes with a change in state law. 

In April, Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 11 into law to prohibit the use of tobacco products by students, school personnel and visitors on school properties, in school vehicles and at school activities. 

The ban prohibits the use of tobacco, e-cigarettes and vapor products on any property owned by the school district, including parking lots, athletic fields and during school-related activities and field trips.

The Floyd County Health Department received a $7,700 grant that will provide signs and educational materials the school district can use to implement the new smoking ban.

The school district is now in the “soft implementation” of this plan, meaning that the district is starting and adhering to the new policy,” but staff and parents won’t sign agreements this school year. 

“It is basically making everyone aware, eliminating any designated smoking areas at our facilities, making the employees aware that it will not be — that smoke free, means no buses, no board vehicles, no school properties, all of that stuff,” Adkins said. “And then, next year, it’s a complete 100 percent implementation.” 

Adkins said he doesn’t believe there are any “official” designated smoking areas on school properties, but he believes that “some staff know where they can go” to use tobacco. 

“Hard implementation” is planned to begin next school year, 2020-2021, and, at that time, staff will sign agreements stating that they will adhere to the policy or face disciplinary action. Students and parents will also be asked to sign agreements. Adkins said the district will enforce the new policy to the extent possible in the district. 

The law requires that school boards adopt written policies prohibiting the use of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products and vapor products by July 1, 2020. 

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