UISD continues to see students bring vape pens to school

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 6:38 PM CDT
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - Electronic cigarettes are a growing concern in our community. Even more when children are making use of it.

In 2018, the Texas Association of School Boards reported over 330,000 middle and high school students were vaping. This represented 13% of all Texas students in grades six through 12. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called vaping an epidemic among teens. The National Institute on drug abuse reported 7% of 8th graders vape marijuana.

Last week in Laredo, one student was arrested at United South Middle School when they were found with a THC vape pen. The school district said it’s a problem that is not going away. Officer Sylvia Abrego with the UISD Police Department said, “Children think it’s an ‘in thing’, so if one does it, everybody wants to follow along and do the same thing.” She added, “it’s not as bad as when it first started, but it’s still a problem in our schools. At the middle school and at high school levels, we have at least one a day from different areas of the schools arrested for being in possession.”

Abrego said that although both nicotine and THC vape pens may look the same on the outside, THC vape pens pose a greater threat to students. ”It does put them under the influence as if they were smoking regular marijuana, so it does affect education and also growing up,” said Abrego.

UISD says possession of nicotine vape pens also results in administrative actions being taken since it is a prohibited item at school and for underage people. They say students are subject to be prosecuted as young as 10 years old. They are considered juveniles until the age of 16. Students 17 and above would go to the Webb County Jail if arrested.

As for Laredo ISD, the school district’s code of conduct says a student may be placed in a disciplinary alternative education program if they possess vape pens.

According to the Texas Tribune, possession of even one illegal THC vape pen can carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

School officials urge parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of vaping and the consequences they can face if they are caught doing it on campus.

Below is the original story:

A student is arrested after taking an illegal object onto school grounds.

It’s an issue that the FDA is calling a growing epidemic among teens and young adults.

The National Institute on Drug abuse reported seven percent of eighth graders vape marijuana.

Now a student in Laredo has been arrested for bringing a THC pen to campus.

The incident happened last week at United South Middle School.

According to UISD, although the number of cases has decreased, they are still seeing students being in possession of devices such as e-cigarettes and vape pens.

Sylvia Abrego with UISD Police said at least one arrest happens daily at their middle and high schools for possession of a vape pen.

Students are subject to be prosecuted since they are ten years of age.

At this time, they are already considered juveniles until the age of 16.

Meanwhile, students 17 and above could go to the Webb County Jail if they are arrested.

Abrego explains that THC pens affect the brain just as regular marijuana does.

Students found with nicotine pens will also face administrative actions since these devices are prohibited on school grounds and for minors.

The district is urging parents to speak to their children about the dangers of vaping and consequences they can face if they are caught vaping on campus.

Abrego said that vape pens are designed to have fun and creative logos to make them more appeal to people under the age of 18.

Also, the designs make it difficult for parents to identify them as vaping pens.

Coming up in our later newscast, we have more on how local schools fight this ongoing issue.

For more headlines. click here.