VBCPS Updates its Vaping and Juuling Policies


Sydney Haulenbeek

Google Slide that Caitlin Stravino, assistant principal, presented to students concerning vaping and e-cigarettes on September 5th, 2019.

Sydney Haulenbeek, Editor in Chief

On September 5 and 10 Kempsville High School administration presented the student success assemblies for the 2019-2020 school year during students’ English classes. One of the things that they addressed was VBCPS’s policy and updated restrictions on vapes and e-cigarettes, such as Juuls. 


Virginia law concerning the minimum purchasing age for nicotine and tobacco products changed over the summer, on July 1. The purchasing age – which had previously been 18 – was extended to 21, except for active-duty military who are 18 and older. 


Assistant Principal Caitlin Stravino spoke on the topic, showing students headlines like “Dozens of Young People Hospitalized for Breathing and Lung Problems After Vaping” and “This teen’s vape exploded, shattering his jaw”.


“These are some headlines that I pulled just from the last month, so take a look,” she said to fourth block English students during one of the assemblies. “These are all from major newspapers and news networks, so these are true; it’s important that you know the facts. Vapes or e-cigarettes have highly concentrated [and] highly addictive nicotine, and they have other harmful chemicals that we don’t know what they do.”


“Please don’t engage in [this behavior], especially when we don’t know what happens here,” Stravino said. “We don’t know the long-term impacts of vaping. And unfortunately, it’s your generation that’s going to have to find out.”


VBCPS’s school board policy concerning drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and nicotine products, which was adopted in 1979, was further modified on June 25th before the new legal restrictions came into effect. 


The Superintendent shall establish regulations to promote a drug-free environment in the schools, on school property and vehicles, and at school sponsored events,” the policy reads. “Students in violation of this Policy, applicable law or regulation or the Code of Student Conduct will be disciplined in accordance with applicable policy or regulation and the Code of Student Conduct. School administrators may refer violations to law enforcement or the court system.”


While in the past, first-offense violators who have been caught using or possessing received ISS, now each violation is an automatic out-of-school suspension that may be up to five days. The second and third offenses receive recommendations for expulsion. 


In addition, offenders are reported to the school resource officer, Officer Walker, who will be pressing charges for underage possession of tobacco products. 


It’s very serious, and the school division is taking it very seriously,” Stravino said. 


VBCPS considers vaping paraphernalia, such as pods and chargers, to be a part of the vaping device, and possessing it qualifies as a violation. 


“Please don’t engage in this activity,” Stravino said. ”We want you to be safe here at Kempsville.”