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Vaping Information

Dear Parents/Guardians,

School districts in Middlesex County and throughout New Jersey have witnessed an alarming increase in the student use of electronic cigarettes and vaping pens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration, in 2019 1 in 4 high school students (27.5%) and about 1 in 10 middle school students (10.5%) have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. Consistent with these trends, we have observed similar issues in our Middle School and High School.

Accordingly, we have taken several proactive initiatives to address this serious matter. To begin with, we want to ensure that all parents have a clear understanding of the health related issues associated with electronic cigarettes and vaping. To this end, we are providing you with a fact sheet adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The second component of addressing this issue, described by the US Surgeon General as an epidemic, is by strictly adhering to relevant South River Board of Education Policy and all associated legal mandates. South River Board Policy #3515 establishes the following definitions pertaining to vaping:

  • Smoking means the inhaling the burning or vapor of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, electronic smoking device or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco
  • Electronic smoking device means an electronic device that can be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, cigar, cigarillo, or pipe.

Additionally, Board Policy 5131.6 states the following: Students suspected of inhaling controlled and dangerous substances through electronic smoking devices shall be subjected to all the guidelines for the suspected use and possession of controlled and dangerous substances as described in the board policy and regulation. For the purpose of this policy, "drug" includes all controlled dangerous substances and all chemicals that release toxic vapors set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.4 et seq.

Therefore, in accordance with board policy, as well as New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:16, any student that is caught vaping or is in possession of any vaping related paraphernalia, will be screened by the school nurse and sent out for an immediate medical examination and drug screening. Additionally, disciplinary consequences consistent with Board Policy and our Code of Conduct will be enforced at the discretion of building administration.

Vape Detectors in our schools...

Importantly, parents and guardians should note that we have recently installed vaping detectors in all High School restrooms and we are in the process of installing them in all Middle School restrooms. The vaping detectors help to ensure student safety and compliance with our code of conduct.

The final aspect of our comprehensive approach to addressing this issue includes providing students with the required support and tools to refrain from engaging in this harmful and illegal activity. We will continue to educate our students about the dangers of electronic cigarettes and vaping during health classes and through special presentations.

Furthermore, students that have been caught vaping will receive support from our School Assistance Counselor (SAC) and may be required to complete an online vaping and drug prevention program (ASPIRE). The ASPIRE program, available through Tobacco Free for a Healthy NJ, will be facilitated during school hours in coordination with our district SAC or another administratively designated staff member.

Addressing matters pertaining to student safety requires a collaborative effort and we genuinely appreciate your continued support of all district initiatives. To this end, we are confident that our three tiered approach to addressing this matter will yield positive student outcomes.

Matthew Crouch
Director of Student Services