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Valley school districts fire up stricter anti-smoking policies

Published: Mon, August 8, 2011 @ 12:09 a.m.



For years, Mahoning Valley school districts have restricted smoking on school grounds, but now the state wants anti-smoking policies to become even stricter.

Last month, the state school board recommended that smoking be banned on all surrounding school property. Smoking inside school buildings is already prohibited by state law.

The latest recommendation from the state board means students wouldn’t be able to possess tobacco products, and school employees and other adults couldn’t use any such products.

Lock P. Beachum Sr., president of the Youngstown school board, has asked the board’s policy committee, chaired by board member Andrea Mahone, to study such a policy for the city schools.

“A lot of schools are doing this all around the country,” Beachum said.

The state’s recommendation isn’t mandated.

The Youngstown district’s policy adopted in 2004 prohibits tobacco use within enclosed facilities owned or leased by the board and in areas immediately adjacent to locations of entrances to such facilities. It also prohibits tobacco use in vehicles owned or operated by the board.

It does, however, allow the board to designate outdoor areas where smoking is allowed.

The policy being considered though, would eliminate those designated areas.

Austintown Superintendent Vince Colaluca said his school board voted to make its campus tobacco free as of June 1.

Although Colaluca said the decision was “a great thing for kids,” he said it also helped the district earn a silver green building certificate through the U.S. Green Building Council.

The district is in the process of building new kindergarten-through-second and third-through-fifth-grade buildings.

Boardman Superintendent Frank Lazzeri said his district’s smoking policy has been in place since 2008. It prohibits smoking in buildings, at football games and district-owned trucks.

Lazzeri said faculty can go to the parking lot and smoke in their cars.

Robert Zorn, Poland’s superintendent, said the district hasn’t “had any problems” since implementing a smoke and tobacco-free campus two years ago.

“The public is pretty sensitive,” he said.

In Canfield, Superintendent Dante Zambrini said he understands the health concerns but thinks the new recommendation is too restrictive.

“Who’s going to police it?” asked Zambrini. “You can’t even go smoke in a car because it’s on the premises.”

He said the district’s policy prohibits smoking inside the fence at football games, in buildings and in close proximity to doors.

“Residents and parents, through their own choice, choose to smoke,” Zambrini said.

No discussions have taken place to make any changes to the district’s smoking policy.

At Liberty schools, members of the public who attend a football game can go outside of the stadium to smoke, said Superintendent Stanley Watson.

“During the school day, there’s no place you can smoke on campus,” he said.

He has some concerns about the state board’s recommendation to eliminate tobacco completely.

“The biggest hurdle is the public aspect of it,” Watson said. “If you have 5,000 people at a football game, who’s going to police that?”

Such prohibitions for students and staff during the school day are easy.

“It’s covered ground,” he said. “We haven’t had issues with that for a long time.”

Aaron Schwab, communications coordinator for the Warren City Schools, said that district’s policy already includes the state-recommended restrictions.

“We are already completely smoke free,” he said. “There’s no smoking on any of our properties.”

That even prohibits someone smoking inside his or her vehicle that’s parking on school property, Schwab said.


1RoddAC(102 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

rOn724 - Why do you think you have a cardiologist? Personally, I think school grounds and hospital grounds should be places which are smoke free. I also feel bars and restaurants should be allowed to be designated smoke free or smoker friendly. The patrons can then decide if hey would like to patronize either. If you know people smoke there...don't go! It's just that easy, but the law makers sometimes really do get a little too "personal." Like seat belts for example.

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2facetiously_esoteric(3 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Idiots, If you knew the first thing about how bad our enviroment is polluted. Such as our water with things like synthetic estrogen and many many others worse things you wouldnt be crying about smokers, heres a idea maybe if you actually did something about how bad water and air is you wouldnt be such hypocrites when you talk about smokers. The whole reason the goverment is pushing smoking bans everywhere is to keep the focus on that instead of the real things causing the health problems in america. Ever notice how many commercials there are for drugs that now the companies are being sued over and all those were ok'ed by the FDA. Here is a suggestion, why dont you actually look up the pertinate information before you utter anymore idiocies on here.

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3DwightK(1537 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

People don't still smoke, do they? I can't imagine people still do that. This article must be wrong.

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4MOLOCH(21 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Lots of people still smoke. The store i work at sells over 400 packs a day. All you "non smokers" do is wine and complain ~ where do you think this country would be without the cig tax $? There are people in their 90's who smoke ~ and there are people who never smoked nor been around a smoker that have died of cancer. r0n724 i agree with you.

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5Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

To Facetioussly
“Never argue with a stupid person for they will only bring
you down to their level and then beat you with experience

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