Alexander Schools Going Tobacco Free

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Starting this upcoming school year, Alexander Local School District will be implementing a 100 percent tobacco-free policy, making the district one of only a few in Ohio to adopt the practice.

The policy is based on guidelines created by the Ohio Department of Health's Tobacco Use and Prevention Program. The coordinator of the program, Kim Knapp-Browne, began meeting with Jeff Cullum, the district’s superintendent, earlier this year.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing. Only a few districts in Ohio have the 100 percent free policy and it’s the health department’s goal to have as many districts as possible adopt it.” Browne said. The only other school in the county to adopt the policy is the Federal Hocking Local Schools District.

The policy prohibits smoking by any student or staff member in any school building, parking lot, or otherwise on school grounds. The idea is that this will help the staff be better models for students who are beginning to make choices about tobacco themselves.

Staff members are not forced to quit smoking, only to leave school grounds to smoke so they aren’t influencing students. The policy also contains an enforcement provision and bans student possession of tobacco products and paraphernalia.

In a news release Cullum said, “The Alexander Board of Education is dedicated to providing our students, staff, and community with a safe and healthy educational environment whether it be during school hours or the many extracurricular events that occur throughout the year. These policies go a long way toward the goal of safe and healthy schools and we hope that all individuals will help in that effort by abiding by the policies.”