The Canastota Board of Education approved the first reading of the rewritten smoking and tobacco use policy.
The committee consisted of Kari Shanahan, tobacco policy coordinator for OCM BOCES, board Trustee Robin Mitchell, staff members Stacey Stagnitti, Paula Burnor, Louanne Prince, Carolyn Mannix and Mark Frye and students Molly Stagnitti, Brianna Quaglia and Natasha Salloum.
The committee observed that there were no tobacco-free signs posted at any entrances to the school grounds or buildings or athletic fields.
Evidence of tobacco use was found in the male student bathroom, main entrances, at the loading dock area, bus loading zone, in the student and faculty parking lots, at the outside kitchen and cafeteria doorways, within 100 yards of school property and other.
"We didn't see anyone using tobacco," Shanahan said. "We only found evidence of tobacco use."
Shanahan said she had smelled smoked and found cigarette butts on the ground.
Trustee Bernard Gleeson asked where the "other" was located. Shanahan said the "dumpster-area."
Staff tobacco survey
Eighty percent of the staff interviewed indicated they were aware that the school has a written board-approved policy regarding tobacco use on school property, although 46 percent indicated they weren't familiar with the rules, procedures of the policy or the consequences for violators.
As far as the policies effectiveness, 60 percent indicated it wasn't very effective, and nearly half indicated the rules are not consistently enforced for all students.
Although, nearly half claimed the staff consistently enforces the rules.
Forty percent of the staff indicated that the school almost never promotes tobacco-free activities and 38 percent indicated that the school does not provide a clear message about not using tobacco on school property.
Almost 6 percent of the staff reported being a current smoker.
Some of the comments by staff surveyed were, "Leave smokers alone. It's a coping mechanism. Gee-whiz enough already. We should be more concerned with stress levels."