Uniting to combat vaping


Although the Flandreau School Board learned several good news items at its February 12 regular obard meeting, they also learned that vaping by students is a huge concern.
Sheriff Troy Wellman displayed a gallon size evidence bag full of vapes, empty shell casings, and nitrous oxide cartridges to board members and those present. School Resource Deputy Frias explained that the content of the bag was everything that was either confiscated or found on school property.
Much of the content of the bag which can be seen are vapes. The vapes are both nicotine and THC. While vape detectors were installed in the bathrooms, they are inoperable due to the school’s firewall. SRD Frias continues to investigate a resolution to the issue and reaching out to other SRD/SROs in the area on how they are combatting the issue.
The uptick in vaping on school premises already prompted the change in the Use of Tobacco/Tobacco-Like Products prior to the 23-24 school year. The current policy now reads as follows:
Smoking and the use of tobacco products is against South Dakota law. No student shall possess, use, sell, or dispense any tobacco/tobacco-like products during a school activity or on school property which includes buildings, grounds, parking lots and school buses. The student shall be subject to the following penalties:

1. First Violation: 5 days in alternative learning room
2. Second Violation: 10 days in alternative learning room
3. Third Violation: Recommendation for Long Term Suspension
NOTE: Smoking of any kind, with any device will be referred to law enforcement officials for a citation. Possession of smoking-related items such as lighters, matches, etc. will also result in suspension. Such items serve no legitimate educational purpose at school. (To include cigarette, vape, vape juice, juul, e-cigarette, or any inhalation device that can contain nicotine, tobacco, or other substance considered illegal for consumption.)
The policy allowed for uniform handling of every incident and added that “smoking of any kind, with any device will be referred to law enforcement officials for a citation.” Prior to the update the SRD would handle each student on a case-by-case basis.
Now with the problem continuing the Moody County Boys and Girls Club is stepping in to assist. The Club alongside the Moody County States Attorney have established a Diversion program, as well reviving Teen Court.
The Diversion Program’s mission state is to assist juvenile offenders in assuming responsibility for their criminal behavior; to hold them accountable for their actions and to teach them to make better decisions in the future, while treating them with respect and dignity; to involve the community through volunteer programs and community service opportunities; and to promote better communication between youths, parents, schools, law enforcement agencies, and the community.
Requirements of the program include an apology letter written to parents/or parties involved, weekly check-ins, and if applicable relevant classes. The program lasts 120-days and participants must remain respectful and willing to participate in aspects of the program.
Things parents can do to help combat the vaping issue is know what your kids are doing and who they are with. You can do this by checking in on social media apps, cash transferring apps such as Venmo, or best of all speaking to your children about the risks of vaping.

Shell casings were empty and had fallen out of a truck after a weekend of hunting. Nitrous Oxide can be used as and inhalant to become intoxicated, also known as a “whippit”.