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HB114 Smokes out Student Vaping

Texas implements bill to combat on-campus vaping
HB114 Smokes out Student Vaping

With students now being assigned to DAEP when caught vaping, concerns have risen on overcrowding at the facility. Since this new law is not being funded by the state, districts such as LISD will need to have their own funds to support it.

Effective Sept. 1 2023, House Bill 114 states students caught vaping in school will be sent to a 20-day DAEP rather than the original three day In School Suspension (ISS). 

DAEP Counselor Laurie Melendez said the facility is already overcrowded, and she expects the bill to increase this. Another change of the new bill is THC vape cases that used to be sent to JJAEP (Juvenile Justice Alternative Education) will now be sent to DAEP 

“We have a capacity and I mean, if there’s nowhere to put a kid because every desk is full, what do you do with them?” Melendez said. “You don’t have any adults to teach it because you don’t have any staff and you don’t have a classroom so what do you do with all these kids?”

The financial aspect of this new law is also cause for concern to both LISD and the DAEP program.

Melendez said that with the overcapacity of the DAEP facility, it comes down to money and whether the district has enough to fund upgrades to take in more students. Since the bill has been officially approved the center has already taken 30+ students from JJAEP and other vape cases, and the numbers will only continue to rise.

Assistant Principal Jason Mullin doesn’t think the rule was added because previous disciplinary measures were ineffective. He hopes the knowledge of the consequences and its effects will cause students to keep the vapes at home.

“Not only are you in a spot where you need to get some counseling or professional help to stop, but now you also have the disciplinary consequence,” said Mullin. “Now that’s just added to your situation.”

However, junior Lily Terrell is unsure if the bill will stop the problem. 

“Since it’s for 20 days, it’ll be somewhat effective, but I think that’s just going to cause people to be a lot more secretive,” said Terell.

Sophomore Viraaj Seth believes that the extreme punishment may make the problem worse. 

“Considering that this is a pretty hard punishment, over something that small of a crime in my opinion, I believe we should do more preventive programs to try to stop that in our best effort,” said Seth. “If we push more toward the idea of reinforcing that it is bad to vape or smoke then it’s more effective than putting them in some sort of pseudo prison.”

When assigned to DAEP, students are relocated to a district facility in Lewisville. They arrive at 8 a.m., go through a metal detector and turn in all personal belongings to authorities. The DAEP school day will mirror the student’s on-campus schedule, with all the same classes, including electives.

Melendez said there are several kids who purposely come back to DAEP because they enjoy the structure and relationships they have built.

“It’s a place where they have relationships with the teachers,” Melendez said. “They feel safe, they feel heard, they feel seen, because it’s a smaller environment than home campus.”

While some students choose to return to the program, it does go on their permanent records. 

“It stays on your record all the way until you leave high school,” Mullin said. “That’s something that could affect your college applications.”

Mullin hopes the knowledge and consequences of being sent to DAEP, can help them to slowly stop vaping.

We’ve really tried to educate students and hopefully, people are going to listen to that and if you are doing that type of thing, that can be addictive,” said Mullin. “So if you’re hooked on that, you have to figure out a way to break that and not bring it to school to avoid that issue.” 

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Mashiyat Khan
Mashiyat Khan, Reporter
Mashiyat Khan (she/her) is a first year staffer. She loves singing and is really excited to get to write about cool stuff in the Marquee! she also loves long Facetime calls with her bestie 

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