The new policy will be effective on the first day of school for students and will be in effect during school or work hours or any time and place that school personnel are supervising students, with the exception of athletic events or other events open to the public.
Although there was no tobacco use policy in place for employees previously, tobacco use was already banned in all school buildings by state law, and tobacco use on campus is already banned for students, said Trigg County School Superintendent Travis Hamby, who replaced Tim McGinnis on Thursday, July 1.
Before the vote took place, Frankie Lewis, a custodian at Trigg County Middle School, said that while smoking “is probably not the best habit,” he has been doing it for 52 years. He also said he goes on breaks to his own vehicle to smoke and drink coffee and felt like he should be allowed to continue.
“I don’t smoke in front of the building, I don’t go around trying to tell people to smoke,” Lewis said. “I know times have changed ... and I’m not trying to say it’s okay to smoke ... but if someone is going to tell me today that I can’t smoke, I don’t know how I’m going to react to that.”
Trigg County School Board Chairman Mike Davis said Lewis made some good points, adding that it can be difficult to make a rule that works for all school employees. He noted, however, that teachers don’t often have much time to go off to smoke.
The board also heard a first reading of a change to the policy concerning cell phones and other communication devices, a change that is designed to bring the policy more in line with what the Kentucky School Board Association recommends.
Students are allowed to have cell phones at school ,but they must be turned off and out of sight, and the same is true on school buses or at extra-curricular activities, although school personnel can make appropriate exceptions to this rule if necessary.
Trigg County School Director of Operations Matt Ladd talked to the board about the vocational school roof and central office roof projects, telling the board that the progress on the vocational project has been slow due to the heat.
“Construction has been pretty slow going,” Ladd said.
However, effective this past Sunday, there have been twice as many workers on the project, and they have started working at night with lights to avoid the heat, Ladd said, adding that he still expects the project to be completed on time and before school starts.
Ladd said that crews will work on the central office roof in October, with the new Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems to be installed over Christmas break. He also said that five HVAC systems will need to be installed, more than the four that the central office currently uses, as there have been additions to the building since those HVAC systems were installed.
In other business, the board unanimously approved five vendors for the purchase of gasoline and approved Dr. Eduardo Pavon, who as the lowest bidder, for the provision of physicals for classified personnel and bus drivers.
The board also approved an application for impact aid for military dependent children with severe disabilities.
“These payments are for costs incurred in providing a free appropriate public education and related services that are in excess of the average regular education per pupil expenditure,” Hamby said. “This is the first year that the district has met the eligibility requirements to apply for these special education benefits.”
Hamby, who attended his first meeting as the new superintendent, also talked about new communications tools that have been added, including a Facebook page for the Trigg County School System.