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The Wingspan

Texans Concerned About Unforeseen Consequences Of Vaping Bill

Vaping+by+JeepersMedia+is+licensed+under+CC+BY+2.0.
“Vaping” by JeepersMedia is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

On Sept. 1, 2023 House Bill 114 became effective in school districts across Texas, stating that any student found distributing, using, or in possession of any e-cigarettes or marijuana in or near school, will be sent to a disciplinary alternative program. 

   Assault, alcohol, public lewdness, and felony conduct are all included in H.B. 114, punishable by expulsion and possibly legal action. Offenses that previously resulted in suspension or detention in Comal ISD will now send students to Comal Detention Center (CDC) without exception. 

   The bill does not mention investigation into the origins of vaping devices, focusing primarily on students’ possession and distribution of said devices. There is concern that this bill will do nothing to stop the vaping epidemic at its source. 

   “There’s a supply and demand issue,” Physics teacher Mr. Muenich said. “We’re dealing with the people that have done the demand, we’re not dealing with the people that have done the supply.”

   A concern among students and educators is that detention facilities like CDC will become overwhelmed and cannot offer a close enough level of education in comparison to regular high schools, hurting the students in the long run. 

   “At discipline centers, they’re usually not known for how well they teach kids,” Muenich said. “It’s just about their structure.” 

   The bill does address the possibility of full discipline centers. The Education code, Section 37.009, says that in the event that discipline centers are at capacity, the student can be held in ISS until there is an opening at the center or until the period of placement is over. 

   Previously, marijuana and harder drugs have had more severe punishment than nicotine, but in accordance with H.B. 114, these offenses will be met with the same punishment in schools across Texas.

   Several states have implemented different House Bills that have altered restrictions on topics ranging from gender identity, critical race theory, and banning of books. These changes have sparked new concerns from students. 

   “I understand the banning of vapes, as possession of one as a minor is illegal, but I do have concerns about the level of control the government has over our schools,” Vickers said. “I mean look at the bills being passed limiting students’ basic education in Florida. I don’t want that to spread, and this feels as though it may be a gateway.” 

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About the Contributor
Abbey Shultz, Section Editor
Abbey Shultz is currently a junior at HCCPHS and is the section editor for opinion pieces and feature stories. She spends most of her free time listening to music, reading, and writing. She is an advocate for Oxford commas and wants to eventually go into a writing career. Her goal for her time with The Wingspan is to improve with every article.
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