Harrison School District leaders report growing presence of vaping devices with THC

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 12:08 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2022 at 4:41 PM CST
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - The Harrison School District reports a growing presence of students with vaping devices containing THC.

At its last school board meeting Tuesday, the district suspended four students for substance-related offenses. District Superintendent Stewart Pratt says the district suspended two students for an entire calendar year.

THC or Delta 8 is a chemical commonly found in cannabis or “weed” that can have physio/psychological effects on a user, meaning it can get someone high. Delta 8 is considered a control substance.

“They just don’t have a place in the learning environment, and we’re asking for parents to give us some help and have a conversation with their children about it,” said Supt. Pratt. “Don’t take these off our dresser and take them to school because the consequences are pretty severe.”

The superintendent says the vaping devices that have been confiscated can look like ordinary everyday objects, such as a pen or a charging stick.

“Vaping devices is what we call them. One of the things we’re finding is these have interchangeable parts and can have a cartridge attached to them that may contain THC,” said Supt. Pratt. “In Arkansas, you’re not allowed to have tobacco or any such products on school grounds at all, nor are you allowed to have them if you’re under 21.”

Harrison Schools leaders intend to maintain a strict stance on such devices given the illegality within the state, among minors, and on the campus of a public school.

“There is no way the law allows for this, and then if you’re passing that around to other students now that’s distribution,” said Supt. Pratt. “We’re worried about students learning, and now they’re going to miss time from school, and it’s ultimately not the environment we want them to be in.”

Jackson Parker is a senior at Harrison High School and says he hasn’t come in contact with any illegal substances, and the key is the crowd he runs around with.

“Yeah, most of my friends usually don’t do that,” said Parker. “You hear rumors that that stuff happens but again, nothing that I’ve witnessed. I’m a senior now, so I’m not at school as much anymore.”

As for the district, it is alarming that they ultimately want kids in school, but discipline for those with these devices, especially those trying to distribute a controlled substance, will be harsh.

“Parents invest enormous amounts of dollars to ensure a good education system,” said Dr. Pratt. “These devices don’t help reach that end goal. So we’re just asking parents to partner with us, have discussion with their children so we can irradiate this from the school and focus on student learning.”

CLICK HERE to learn more about Delta 8 THC from the Federal Drug Administration.

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