TICONDEROGA The Ticonderoga Central School District has been recognized for its efforts to curb tobacco use.
The school system has received the Community Champion Award from the Adirondack Tobacco Free Network.
The award is in recognition of the districts tobacco policy, which addresses prevention, intervention and discipline. Most school just have a policy outlining rules and discipline, explained Jim Decker, a high-school health teacher who authored the Ti policy. We wanted to do more.
The policy has been reviewed by school administrations and approved by the board of education.
The prevention portion of the Ti policy calls for a cross-curricular, school-wide effort to stop use of tobacco. It calls for education efforts to inform students of the dangers of tobacco, the risk factors for its use, healthy choices and alternatives to tobacco use and the promotion of tobacco-free events.
The cessation portion of the policy establishes stop-smoking programs, gives students an opportunity to attend stop-smoking programs as an alternative to punishment, attempts to identify students at risk of tobacco use, and places anti-tobacco messages created by students throughout the district.
The discipline portion of policy allows students the choice of attending a tobacco cessation program or accepting punishment outlined in the school code of conduct. It also issues warnings to school visitors who smoke on school property, and provides them with a copy of the school policy.
Smoking is declining at Ticonderoga High School, Decker said. I dont see it like I used to, he said. Ive been here 10 years; eight years ago across the street (off school property) you would see a lot of kids smoking. Now there are very few.
Young people today are more aware of the dangers, the money it costs to smoke and the addictive qualities of tobacco, Decker added. And its not as socially acceptable as it once was.
Peer influence is still the key element in tobacco use, the health teacher said.
Kids still smoke because of who they hang out with, Decker said. If you are friends with people who smoke, the odds are greater youll smoke.
Years ago Ti High teachers patrolled rest rooms to catch smokers. Thats no longer necessary.
Smoking in the building is virtually nonexistent, Decker said.
The Ti school district tobacco policy has been financed by a $6,000 grant from the Adirondack Tobacco Free Network. The grant paid for anti-tobacco education programs and smoking cessation training.
The grant came through the efforts of Decker and Bill Barnhart, the curriculum coordinator.