School District Has Drastic Plan to Quash Vaping 'Epidemic'

Nebraska's Fairbury Public Schools hopes urine tests for nicotine serve as deterrent
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2019 8:43 AM CDT
School District's Plan to Curb Vaping: Urine Tests
A 15-year-old high school student uses a vaping device near the school's campus in Cambridge, Mass., on April 11, 2018.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Random drug tests ordered by Nebraska's Fairbury Public Schools will be looking for one drug in particular: nicotine. In an effort to curb teen vaping, students in grades seven through 12 who hope to take part in extracurriculars including marching band must submit to random nicotine testing following a school board vote last week, reports the Lincoln Journal Star. Offending students face 10-day suspensions, and year-long bans from extracurriculars after a third offence. "It's just a way we can deter kids from potentially being addicted to nicotine" as "vaping and smoking in our view is reaching epidemic proportions," says Superintendent Stephen Grizzle. It's totally legal, per the Washington Post, which notes a 2002 Supreme Court decision upheld an Oklahoma school district's policy of random drug tests for students in competitive extracurriculars.

Indeed, Texas' Brock Independent School District voted in February to add nicotine to the substances for which students in extracurriculars, and those requesting parking permits, can be tested. Fairbury Junior-Senior High School has actually been performing random urinalysis tests on 10% of its more than 200 students enrolled in extracurriculars—who must sign a consent form, along with their parents—each month for the past two years, per the Post. Per KOLN, the change to allow tests for nicotine will cost Fairbury Public Schools about $900 a year—a bargain when compared with vape detectors, which measure alterations in humidity and air content, and cost $1,000 each. The devices are being used to curb teen vaping in plenty of states, though San Francisco might go a step further. Per the AP, the city will consider Tuesday whether to ban vapes altogether. (More vaping stories.)

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