STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) -- Staunton City Schools is enforcing new consequences for students caught vaping on school property.
"Parents send their children to school and expect us to keep them safe, and this is clearly an unsafe behavior," Superintendent Garett Smith said.
Staunton City Schools are raising the stakes for students who are caught vaping on school property.
This comes after the law that went into effect at the beginning of July, raising the minimum age to buy tobacco and nicotine products to 21.
Students who are caught with such types of devices the first time will be suspended for 10 days and participate in a drug awareness program.
"You don't go home. You're still going to come over to the Dixon Center," Smith said. "We're going to counsel you about the behaviors you're engaging in we're going to give you a chance to own your behavior. You're going to keep up with your schoolwork."
If a student is caught violating the policy a second time, they will be referred to the Division Discipline Committee and could be expelled.
Smith said there has been an increase in the use of vaping products at the school.
"We went from zero e-cigarette incidents the year before last to 53 last year," Smith said.
Community members are reacting to the rule change.
"I honestly don't think that kids should ever start anything like this, and if they're going to, get them out of school so they're not influencing other kids," Brittaney Trimner said.
"I think that's the only way maybe to get kids to understand that they need to respect rules and also it's trying to prevent them from doing something that's not good for their health," Giovanni Alvarez said.
"Maybe a little heavy on the first offense you catch them, I'm more on the warning and all of that," Laura Frazier said.
Smith believes with parent support, this change will create better and safer schools.
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