The New Kensington-Arnold School District will be taking a less punitive, more helpful approach to students caught violating its tobacco and vaping policy for the first time.
The school board recently approved an update to the tobacco policy in the student handbook. For a first offense, students will receive three days of in-school suspension. They’ll also be enrolled in a four-session program focused on tobacco use, nicotine dependence, establishing healthy alternatives and making the change to be free of tobacco products.
That program, Intervention for Nicotine Dependence: Education, Prevention, Tobacco and Health, or INDEPTH, is offered by Adagio Health, which is working with the school district. It was developed by the American Lung Association with the Prevention Research Center of West Virginia University.
Adagio is the tobacco prevention and control manager of a state-funded grant in the Southwest region, covering 11 counties including Westmoreland, said Casey Monroe, vice president of disease prevention with Adagio in Pittsburgh.
Adagio reached out to the district as part of its work, she said.
“We are thrilled that the school district wanted to take the time to address these issues. There is a huge epidemic on the rise of kids vaping,” Monroe said. “It’s also much easier to conceal vaping products. Students are finding all kinds of ways to essentially hide these products from teachers, school administrators and parents.”
Article by Brian C. Rittmeyer, a Tribune-Review staff writer.