asked the Brandywine district school board to establish a policy
to fine youngsters caught smoking in lavatories or anywhere else
on school property. Having to pay a significant amount for
taking a puff should effectively discourage the practice, he
Wood, who teaches health, made an impassioned plea at the
board's meeting on Dec. 20, superintendent Bruce Harter
immediately agreed to draft a proposal for board action in time for it to be included in the district's code
student conduct code before the next academic year.
were you when I was [a student] at Concord [High] ? Even though
there was a smoking [area] then, we couldn't use the
bathrooms," board member Janice Tunell remarked. She
graduated in the late 1970s. A few years earlier, in an effort to
provide smoke-free facilities, the school designated an area
just outside one of its entrances as a place where students were allowed to
smoke. That was before the public became fully conscious of the
health hazards in the practice.
having a designated area nor later public support of smoke-free
environments ever solved the problem. Wood referred to the lavatories at Brandywine High as "Marlboro country."
smoking areas have long
since been eliminated and student smoking is now a disciplinary
offense. Wood noted, however, that Brandywine High still has such an
area for faculty and other adult staff members at the building's
caught smoking or with evidence of having smoked or chewed
tobacco in any Brandywine district school, face a one-day
described application of that sanction at Brandywine High as
zero-tolerance, but questioned its effectiveness.
"They don't care about being suspended -- and it's
counterproductive to education anyway," Wood told the
he said, violators should be fined amounts beginning at about $25 and
going up to as much as $90 for repeat violations.
that is done in some Pennsylvania and New Jersey districts,
either administratively or by having students charged with a
criminal offense. He said his research indicates that Delaware's
indoor air quality law would permit the school district to
assess a penalty.
collected, he said, could be used to finance a smoking-cessation
program to help students kick the habit.
said about 15% of Brandywine High students are asthmatic, but
that clearing the lavatories has a good deal more support than
that. "When I talked about it in [a] ninth-grade class, the
kids applauded," he said.