USD 491 finds tobacco policy hard to enforce
The Eudora USD 491 Board of Education met a group of students halfway on their proposal to change the district’s tobacco policy so that no smoking would be allowed at any time on school property.
The students with the Teen Teams Talking Tobacco, or T4, requested the policy change at last month’s meeting and the board sent the proposed policy to its lawyer, Curtis Tideman.
From the beginning, the main hurdle for the policy being approved was enforcement, as the proposed policy could dictate that district officials would have to ask people smoking on district property to extinguish their cigarettes.
However, since the city of Eudora has no ordinance regarding smoking, it would be impossible for district staff to enforce the policy on anyone who wasn’t a student or district staff member.
“I support the idea, but I can’t support an unenforceable policy,” board President Kenny Massey told the student group, which was led by the district’s prevention specialist Chrissy Mayer.
The board came to a resolution that would support a tobacco-free campus and Superintendent Don Grosdidier will work with the student group on the wording of signage to be posted in areas frequented by smokers.
Ashtrays also will be removed from district grounds.
The board also told the student group to continue in its endeavors.
Mayer said that the students’ next move will be to investigate a no smoking ordinance at the city level.
“I’m a little disappointed with how things went because there are may districts in this state who have clean air policies without the city they reside in having those policies, as well,” Mayer said. “City policy is something the students are looking into, though.”
She also said the experience thus far has been a learning experience for the students.
“I think it’s a great chance for the students to become involved in and see what it takes to change policy,” Mayer said.
In other actions, the board:
• Heard from Bart Swartz, director of human resources at Greenbush, regarding strategic planning.
The meetings will resemble the city’s visioning process of about one year ago where community members were brought together to discuss a series of goals they would like to accomplish.
Board members, administrators, teachers, parents and community members who are not parents of students will draft the goals at a series of meetings that will begin in November and then be followed by focus groups.
“The idea for the strategic planning process grew from the board’s desire to establish board goals given the arrival of three new members on the board,” Grosdidier said. “It was decided that a more collaborative process involving not only the board but administration, teachers and patrons would be more productive. A three year strategic plan will help the board navigate through what could be difficult waters.”
• Received a progress report on various district construction projects.
Framing continues at the site of the new technical education center and the science additions at Eudora High School.
Construction of the EHS auditorium have been somewhat slowed by minimal design issues, but the structure likely will become more visible in November.