They’ve been told its bad, but these students just don’t care.
Nearly 20 percent of teens were smoking in 2009, according to national statistics.
Student smoking at Penn Manor has increased over the years; so have the violations. In the 2006-2007 school year, 15 students were tagged with a first offense for smoking. As the years went on the number increased to 22 in 2009-2010 school year.
According to the tobacco policy of Penn Manor School District, the first offense is a letter home and a $10 fine for the use of tobacco products. For possession, principals will confiscate cigarettes, lighters, etc; a letter is sent home and a $10 fine is handed out, just as in the first offense.
If a student gets caught red-handed for smoking, they get snagged for possession as well.
There are many reasons why students smoke despite the penalties.
Many students said it “relaxes” them and keeps them “calm.” Others say “it’s fun” and “consumes their time.”
Penn Points agreed to keep the identities of students private for this article.
One student said it’s something to do when he’s depressed. He also got caught with cigarettes once. He said he got caught with two other students. He recalled school resource officer Jason Hottenstein, let him back into the school and gave him a warning.
With over 4000 chemical compounds present in cigarette smoke, these students still think its the “cool” thing to do.
Officer Hottenstien said, “The addiction to nicotine is real but they need to learn how to control the urge.”
He also said that students normally get caught after smoking in the school’s bathrooms because they go from where they’re supposed to be to the other side of the school building and are seen from the cameras in front of the bathrooms.
“Most certainly,” is what Officer Hottenstein said about the cameras helping to catch students in the act.
The most severe punishment for “lighting up” on school property is when police need to be called. Students can be hit with a fine as high as $500 and several Saturday school detentions.
Hottenstein added that his main concern is having a “clean and safe (school) environment.”
By Kim Blake