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Denton ISD Trustees Approve Amendment to Exempt District from New State Law on Vaping

On Sept. 26, Denton ISD’s Board of School Trustees approved an amendment to the current District of Innovation (DOI) plan that provides an exemption to Texas Education Code: §37.006. This amendment will exempt Denton ISD from the requirements of House Bill 114 as it applies to e-cigarette offenses that do not involve prohibited drugs.

The change in Texas Education Code is in response to HB 114, which went into effect on Sept. 1 after its passage in the 88th Texas Legislative Session. The new Texas Education Code applies to the placement of a student in a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP) if the student is found to possess, use, sell, give, or deliver to another person an e-cigarette device, regardless of whether the e-cigarette contains a controlled substance.

“We will continue to bolster the types of services that we provide to students with e-cigarettes, regardless of whether they are a controlled substance or not,” said Deron Robinson, Denton ISD General Counsel. “We know this is an issue and an epidemic for our community’s young people that we have to address, and we are addressing it at every campus.

With the approval of the DOI amendment, vaping or the use of e-cigarettes that do not contain controlled substances will receive consequences as outlined in the Code of Conduct – and will not be an automatic DAEP placement.

All violations involving controlled substances, however, will receive a DAEP placement as is required by law.

In addition, the approval of the DOI amendment will allow Denton ISD to continue to pursue local control as it benefits curriculum, instruction, governance and any other areas deemed necessary to maintain the district’s commitment to the success of every child.

“I think the issue with [HB 114] is it puts the consequence first instead of the people,” said Dr. Jeff Russell, Area Superintendent. “I think zero tolerance policies really limit our practitioners on the campus level and don’t allow them to make the best decisions for kids. Our District of Innovation approved this amendment unanimously, and we received a lot of feedback from them about how they think it is a really good idea that we implement this at the local level.”