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HISD does not track vaping incidences; area districts vary widely on how they deal with vaping

HOUSTON – The Houston Independent School District, the largest school district in Texas, does not track student vaping instances and associated punishments, while area school districts vary widely on how they deal with the growing problem.

The policy, or lack thereof at HISD, regarding record retention on vaping incidences, has prompted State Sen. Carol Alvarado to question whether HISD has an adequate grasp on the scope of the problem.

“I just don’t think they’ve made this a priority and I’m disappointed in that," Alvarado (D-District 6) said. “We have kids that are addicted to this stuff and we don’t know if they’re getting the proper treatment.”

HISD responded to KPRC 2′s request for an on-camera interview with a statement, part of which reads:

Changes to federal reporting requirements no longer require state education agencies to report data related to student tobacco use/possession. As such, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) eliminated the Disciplinary Action Code for tobacco-related violations before the start of the current school year. Because the now-eliminated code did not require school districts to record the type of tobacco product involved in disciplinary incidents, it’s unclear how many of those tracked were related to e-cigarettes as opposed to cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or other tobacco products.

See HISD’s vaping policy below:

Nonetheless, other area school districts track vaping incidences and the discipline doled out.

We contacted ten of the area’s largest school districts, nine of them provided the associated data:

Aldine ISD

Aldine ISD keeps fairly extensive records related to Vaping incidents, including narrative reports, and case referral information. Aldine ISD also has vaping specific policies outlined in the Code of Student Conduct. See the policy below:

Clear Creek ISD

Clear Creek ISD added ‘e-cigarette’ language to its policy regarding tobacco use in 2015. Student-Athletes are banned from vaping as of this school year. CCISD does track vaping incidents and associated discipline.

Conroe ISD

Conroe ISD started tracking vaping-specific violations in school beginning this school year.

Cy-Fair ISD

Cy-Fair ISD has some e-cigarette language associated with the District’s tobacco policy. It does not appear the school district tracks vaping incidents separately. See the district’s policy below:

Fort Bend ISD

Fort Bend ISD just started tracking vaping incidents this school year. So far, 106 students have received in-school or out-of-school suspensions.

Galveston ISD

Galveston ISD sent 27 students to in-school suspension in 2017-18, 86 in 2018-19, and 37 so far this school year. Eight students have been placed in DAEP in the past two school years.

Humble ISD

Humble ISD has both vaping specific policy in conduct manuals and keeps track of students who receive discipline for vaping violations. See the district’s policy below:

Katy ISD

Katy ISD has specific vaping related language in student conduct literature and keeps track of the number of vaping incidents year over year, with a three-fold increase noted between 2017-18 and 2018-19. See the district’s vaping policy below:

Spring ISD

Spring ISD does track vaping incidents independently and between 2017-18 school year and the 2018-19 school year the number of recorded incidents more than doubled from 17 to 38. These numbers appear to be suspiciously low compared to other school similar size districts which log hundreds of incidents per year.