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From F to A+ smoke-free policy

Zoe Greszler • Updated Apr 29, 2018 at 8:00 PM

MONROEVILLE — Monroeville Local Schools is officially an “A+” tobacco-free school as of Monday.

Every district is required to submit its tobacco-free policy to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) each year to have it assessed. When Monroeville submitted its policy, ODE initially graded the policy as an “F,” giving the school 10 changes to incorporate in its plan to reach an “A+” grade.

A few of the changes may be viewed as strict to some, Superintendent Ralph Moore said, adding he thought it would upset some who visited the school grounds.

The recommended changes were to restrict all forms of tobacco:

• Now including vaping and e-cigarettes

• At all times in the student section

• In any school facility or building 

• On school grounds, athletic grounds or premises

• At school-sponsored events off campus

• At all times in staff sections

• At all times in visitor sections

The school also was asked to ensure enforcement is discussed in the staff section, that there is a rationale for the policy and to have some form of communication or signage of the policy.

“‘A+’ scores are important because it means your tobacco policy is comprehensive to ODE standards,” said a form issued to the school. “Having a comprehensive tobacco-free school policy can help improve grades, increase attendance, reduce tobacco use and create a safe and healthy learning environment for your students.”

Once the board adopted the policy at Monday’s meeting, it was automatically awarded an “A+,” Moore said.

Board member Mike Helmstetter said the new policy will make the schools stance on tobacco very clear.

“There’s been a gray area for years with the vaping and e-cigarettes,” he said. “This will clear it up. It’s very clear (it’s not acceptable).” 

For those who choose to smoke, when visiting any district grounds or events held by the school, there will be new rules that Moore said will be strictly enforced. 

“This means you can’t just step outside and (smoke) anymore,” he said.

“You have to leave the grounds. This will upset a few people. The biggest thing is going to be enforcement because the new policy is more extensive. The big thing with the new policy is ... 100-percent tobacco free. It defines tobacco products clearly and restricts all use on all educational facilities and athletic facilities. It requires us to put a lot more signs up and requires us to be active in enforcement. People would not be permitted to walk outside and smoke on school grounds. They will have to go away and leave the grounds.

“This will ruffle some feathers,” Moore added.

In other board happenings, the board:

• Officially non-renewed varsity basketball coach Al Mielcarek. 

“He hasn’t done anything wrong,” Moore said. “We just weren’t going anywhere with our program like we wanted. He fulfilled all his obligations for us. I can’t complain about that.”

• Accepted the resignation of junior high school cheerleading coach Morgan barman, dance team coach Taylor Rarick and elementary student council advisors Jennifer Meagrow and Jamie Charville. Moore said they all wanted “to spend more time with family.”

• Accepted $1,514.60 in donations, including $1,402.60 of which came from the Bond/Bastardo Family. 

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